“The pension freedom changes that came into force in April 2015 have changed the shape of pension scams as they gave people easier access to their funds from the age of 55. With access now less of an issue, the scammers are simply looking for savers to withdraw their funds and divert their savings into other investments with the promise of amazing returns, which often fail to materialise.
“Research we recently undertook with YouGov found that more than one in ten (12%) of the over-50s has been contacted about a ‘free review’, ‘unlocking’ or ‘liberation’ of their pension. Two-thirds of those contacted have been contacted by phone.
“While there are many ways for someone to secure an income from their pension savings there are also many pitfalls to be aware of. People will have spent years building up their pension funds to provide an income in retirement, but one relatively simple move can mean all that hard work comes to nothing. To avoid becoming a victim of a pension scam I would suggest people take three steps to make sure they are comfortable they are making the right decision: 1) If you are cold-called, do not agree to anything on the first call. Take the company’s details and do your own research; 2) Check the FCA’s Scamsmart site for companies on the warning list and 3) Speak to a financial adviser to be sure of your legitimate options with your pension savings.”