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The news that Chancellor Philip Hammond is set to introduce a ban on pension cold callers in his autumn statement is a welcome development.
Savings expert Calum Bennie of Scottish Friendly said: “People who’ve worked and saved all their adult lives are left devastated when they find out their hard-earned pension fund investments have been taken. It’s a gut-wrenching situation for people to find themselves in and the steps we expect the Government to take on Wednesday to ban and fine any companies making unsolicited contact with pension savers will go some way to stopping the charlatans out there. However, it is likely to be some months before the rules come into force so in the meantime Scottish Friendly has outlined the following tips to help people spot pension scammers and their techniques.
“Most people know that if something sounds too good to be true, then they should steer clear. However, the problem is that many of these pension predators are able to disguise themselves as reputable and credible.”
Below are 5 ways that savers can spot the scammers and protect their pension.
1. Be wary of people or companies claiming knowledge of tax loopholes, offering to unlock your pension before age 55 or promising to secure extra tax savings that are outside the current pension rules and regulations.
2. Watch out for individuals or companies offering very high returns from overseas or ‘unusual’ investments.
3. Beware companies that attempt to rush you into making decisions. If they are applying pressure to transfer funds or send documents quickly and you feel unsure contact The Pensions Advisory Service (TPAS) before making a decision. http://www.pensionsadvisoryservice.org.uk
4. If you are approached out of the blue over the phone, via text message or in person door-to-door or the firm in question only has only a mobile number, a website or a PO Box number as contact details then be cautious – you are probably best to avoid engaging in any dialogue.
5. Check that the firm you are dealing with is registered with the FCA before signing anything. You can also check the FCA’s Scamsmart warning list<http://www.fca.org.uk/scamsmart> (http://scamsmart.fca.org.uk/). The list contains the names of known investment scheme scams.
More information can be found on the Pensions Wise website: https://www.pensionwise.gov.uk/
Scottish Friendly is not responsible for the accuracy of the information displayed on externally linked third party websites. The Scottish Friendly Group of Companies consists of the following companies: Scottish Friendly Assurance Society Limited – Authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Member of AFM, Member of ABI: Life, Savings and Investments. Scottish Friendly Asset Managers Limited – Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Member of The Investment Association. Registered in Scotland No 187215: OEIC Managers, ISA Managers. Scottish Friendly Insurance Services Limited – Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered in Scotland No 113007. SFIS (Nominees) Limited - Registered in Scotland No 397351. Head office: Scottish Friendly House, 16 Blythswood Square, Glasgow G2 4HJ.