With the Government still dawdling over enforcing a ban on pension cold calling, UK regulators have joined forces to launch a major ad campaign to warn consumers about pension scams on the back of figures which show that victims are losing an average of £91,000 each.
The Financial Conduct Authority and the Pensions Regulator campaign, dubbed ScamSmart, includes TV, radio and social media executions.
Devised by M&C Saatchi, it targets high risk pension holders, those aged between 45 and 65, and depicts the contrast between the impact on the victims and the often jet-setting lifestyles enjoyed by the criminals.
The regulators revealed that the most common tactic was to offer a “free pension review”, through telemarketing cold calls, direct mail and email.
Many victims are promised guaranteed high returns, and overseas investments that are not regulated by the FCA. They are also put under pressure to make a quick decision, with time-limited offers. Some are even offered courier services to speed up the paperwork.
There has been a huge surge in activity since April 2015 when the Government introduced reforms giving over-55s access to their pension pot.
Individual pension pots – sometimes in excess of £1m – made retirement savings an attractive target for fraudsters. While £91,000 was the average loss reported to Action Fraud in 2017, many frauds go unreported.
The Government’s faced huge criticism last month following an admission that the legislation which would see pensions cold calling banned has been delayed until at least next year.
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