Once you've transferred your money into a scam, it's too late. You could end up losing all your pensions savings and, in some cases, face a tax bill of up to 55%.
Scammers design attractive offers to persuade you to transfer your pension pot to them or to release funds from it.
Scammers can be articulate and financially knowledgeable, with credible websites, testimonials and materials that are hard to distinguish from the real thing.
The tactics used by pension scammers to encourage people to transfer their pension savings to them are constantly changing. Some of the tactics include offering free pension reviews, health checks and promises of better returns on their savings, pension loans, up front cash or other promotions to tempt them. Most of these are bogus and unsolicited cold calls/messages are illegal.
To give yourself the biggest protection against fraudsters, learn how to spot the signs and check who you're dealing with on the FCA's ScamSmart webpage. The Pensions Regulator also provides tips on how you can protect yourself against the pension scammers - visit the Pensions Regulator website.
If you suspect a scam you should report it as soon as possible:
- If you've agreed to transfer your pension and now suspect a scam, contact us and any other pension providers straight away. We may be able to stop a transfer that hasn't taken place yet.
- You can report an unauthorised firm or scam to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) by contacting their Consumer Helpline on 0800 111 6768.
- Report to Action Fraud online or by calling 0300 123 2040.
- You can report nuisance calls and messages to the Information Commissioner's Office using their online reporting tool or by calling 0303 123 1113.
- If you have already invested in a scam, fraudsters are likely to target you again or sell your details to other criminals. The follow-up scam may be completely separate or related to the previous fraud, such as an offer to get your money back or to buy back the investment after you pay a fee.
If you decide to transfer your pension, please research the scheme you are transferring to and don't be rushed into making a decision. Take your time to make all the checks you need and, if you have a financial advisor, ask all the questions you need to ask. Before making a decision to transfer, check the FCA's warning list and read the FCA's Pension Scams Booklet. You can also visit the MoneyHelper service for more information.
If you have any doubts or just need some impartial guidance, you can contact MoneyHelper service who can talk you through your options.
The Fund have pledged to do what we can to protect scheme members and follow the principles of the Pension Scams Industry Group (PSIG) Code of Good Practice in so far as it applies to LGPS Funds.
Pledging to combat pension scams confirms our intent to protect our members and demonstrates that the Fund are committed to stopping scammers in their tracks.
We commit to:
- regularly warn members about pension scams
- encourage members asking for cash drawdown to get impartial guidance from MoneyHelper (formerly The Pensions Advisory Service)
- get to know the warning signs of a scam and best practice for transfers by key staff completing the scams module in the Trustee Toolkit; studying and using the resources on the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) ScamSmart website, TPR scams information and the PSIG code
- take appropriate due diligence measures by carrying out checks on pension transfers and documenting pension transfer procedures
- clearly warning members if they insist on high-risk transfers being paid
- report concerns about a scam to the authorities and communicate this to the scheme member