Pension scam victims lose £1m each

Some victims of pension scams have lost more than £1m in savings to fraudsters, The Pension Regulator has revealed.

Data from Action Fraud, part of the multi-agency Project Bloom group, found that two people had lost over £1m, however, TPR believes the figure is likely to be higher as a number of victims never contact the authorities.

TPR said that the average loss through pensions scams was £91,000 in 2017. Victims were contacted by cold calls, offers of free pension review and promises of higher rates of return.

Action Fraud director, Pauline Smith, said: “These statistics prove that the consequences of falling victim to a pension scam can be devastating.

“Victims can lose their life savings and are left facing retirement with little or no income. This is why it’s so important that you are vigilant if you receive an offer about your pension out of the blue and that you check who you are dealing with.

“If you think you have been a victim of pension fraud, please report it to us.”

Created in 2012, Project Bloom brings together government departments, agencies, regulators, law enforcement bodies to tackle pension scams.

Last year, TPR Project Bloom chair Mike Broomfield said that it is failing to measure the extent of pension scams and may have to “admit defeat”.

In August, TPR and the Financial Conduct Authority joined forces to launch a campaign urging people to be aware of scammers targeting their pension savings, as it was revealed an average £91,000 was lost per victim in 2017.

The ScamSmart advertising campaign targets savers aged between 45 and 65, which the regulators say is the most at risk group. Almost a third (32 per cent) of pension savers in the age group would not know how to check whether they are speaking with a legitimate pensions adviser or provider.

TPR executive director of frontline regulation, Nicola Parish, said: “Victims of scams are often traumatised by what has happened to them and many inevitably are left questioning how they are going to afford to retire.

“However large your pension pot, you must be vigilant and able to spot and avoid a scam.”

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