14 Mar 2018

Consumers struggle to identify pension scams

Consumers struggle to identify pension scams

UK consumers are reported to be struggling to identify pension scams and want stronger checks.

New research from the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA) highlights the difficulty people have in spotting pension frauds.

PLSA said the survey builds on its call for an authorisation regime for pension schemes receiving transfers to help stop scams.

More than 2,000 adults took part in the research.


Nearly 90% of those who expressed a view agreed the checks that pension providers and workplace pension schemes undertake to help protect against frauds were good, as long as they make it harder to scam people.

Almost four-fifths agreed there should be stricter rules and checks to ensure that pension pots are secured.

Those taking part in the survey were provided with a selection of scenarios that might be pension frauds.

PLSA said a 'worrying' proportion of respondents - the figure of 29%, which would equate to 14.8million UK adults - missed the most obvious pension scams.

But the majority - 65% - were able to identify a potential fraud if contacted by someone trying to get them to transfer their pension to an investment or scheme which seemed too good to be true.

Nearly 20% of those with a pension said they had heard from by a company other than the one providing their pension to discuss making changes or transferring their pension. One in 10 had even been contacted multiple times.

Stronger checks

James Walsh, of the PLSA, said:

"This research shows that consumers struggle to identify pension scams and are keen to see stronger checks.

"As an industry, we need to step up to this challenge and the Government’s recent commitment to tabling an amendment to the Financial Guidance and Claims Bill to introduce a ban on pension cold calling is a step in the right direction.

"However, pension scams come in all shapes and sizes as scammers become increasingly sophisticated. Whilst the Government’s ban on cold calling is welcome, it is only part of the solution.

“There are other steps the Government can also take to help protect people’s hard-earned savings. The PLSA is calling on the Government to make urgent progress towards introducing an authorisation regime for pension schemes. That will reassure people that they are only dealing with legitimate providers.

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