Avoiding Pension and Investment Scams



Posted on: 21st February 2019

As anyone with an email address will know, phishing emails can be quite convincing looking perfectly like the organisation they are pretending to be. It’s only when you dig deeper, that you can spot the differences.

Avoiding Pension and Investment Scams

Pension and investment scammers can be as convincing but with more disastrous results. Reported by the BBC in 2017, Action Fraud received 253 reports of pension scams resulting in over £23 million in lost pensions – averaging £91,000 each. Action Fraud states the industry believes over £600 million has been lost overall from Pension Fraud.

Your pension and life savings are the foundation of a happy and comfortable retirement and need to be protected at all costs.  Both Action Fraud and The Pensions Regulator have worked hard over the last couple of years to educate and ensure that you do not allow someone else to enjoy your retirement.

What to look out for

  • Was the contact unexpected? It doesn’t have to be a cold call. It can be an unexpected email, social media ads, word of mouth.


  • Have they put a time scale on the ‘deal’? You may get offered a bonus or discount for transfer or investing before a set date or say the deal will run out in a certain timeframe.


  • Are they offering unrealistic returns? Does the return they are offering seem too good to be true? Is the return higher then what the banks are offering or what has been advertised elsewhere? If it seems to good to be true, it probably is.


  • Are they suitably authorised? All investment and pension providers have to be registered with the FCA, as are all those who can process investment and pension business, such as financial planners etc. You can search the FCA register here


  • Do they use flattery to try and build a relationship? They may try and build a friendship to entice you in with a false sense of security and trust.


  • Offering a free pension or investment review? They may offer to review your pensions and investment and offer to move them into a high-risk scheme and into investments you may not be familiar with, promising higher-than-normal returns and lock your money away for a number of years meaning it could be years before you know something is wrong.


  • Stating you can access your pension and release cash before 55? Only in exceptional circumstances can anyone access their pension before 55 and your pension provider or financial planner will provide this information directly.


  • Offer investments that you are unfamiliar with? Examples include overseas property, forestry, storage units, care homes, biofuels or businesses you may not be familiar with.

Staying Protected

If you answer yes to one or more of these questions, it may be a scam and you should stop and check the validity of who you are dealing with before proceeding.

There are four simple steps to take to protect yourself;

Step 1: Reject unexpected offers

Step 2: Check who you are dealing with

By searching the FCA register and using the contact details on the register. You can call the FCA Consumer helpline on 0800 111 6768 to check the firm or individual has the correct permissions to do what they are proposing to do.

Step 3: Do not be rushed or pressured

A genuine financial planner will never rush their clients into making investment or pension decisions. Take your time to do all the checks you need to do – most genuine investment opportunities will still be there when you are ready to proceed.

Step 4: Get impartial information and advice

Doing anything with your pension can be complicated and you should seriously consider getting financial advice from a financial adviser or Pension Wise before proceeding any further.

If you believe you have been contacted by a scam (even if you have avoided it) – report it to Action Fraud and the FCA to help ensure that fewer people are affected by these criminals.

Head over to the FCA now to see if you are ScamSmart!

Talk to Haven IFA

Haven IFA does not market or cold call anyone. All we provide is holistic, fair, friendly financial planning to do what is best for you. By talking to an independent advisor at Haven IFA, you are guaranteed to find yourself headed down the right path to the best retirement plan possible and avoid any of the issues above. To find more about our services, get in touch and see how we can help.