Victims lost an average £91,000 to devious crooks in 2017, with two reporting a loss of seven-figure sums from their retirement pot. But the numbers are feared to be even higher, with the majority of scam victims never contacting the authorities. The new data comes from research from multi-agency group Project Bloom, which was set up to tackle pension scams. It comes after a ban on nuisance calls about pensions came into effect last month with scammers facing potential fines of up to half a million pounds.
Nicola Parish, The Pensions Regulator’s (TPR) executive director of frontline regulation, said: “Victims of scams are often traumatised by what has happened to them and many inevitably are left questioning how they are going to afford to retire.
“The average loss of a victim is £91,000 but these Action Fraud reports show that people can also lose much, much more.
“However large your pension pot, you must be vigilant and able to spot and avoid a scam.”
Pauline Smith, director of Action Fraud, said: “These statistics prove that the consequences of falling victim to a pension scam can be devastating.
“Victims can lose their life savings and are left facing retirement with little or no income.
“This is why it’s so important that you are vigilant if you receive an offer about your pension out of the blue and that you check who you are dealing with.
“If you think you have been a victim of pension fraud, please report it to us.”
Express.co.uk spoke to Andrew Tully, pensions technical director at Canada Life, earlier this year about the tactics used by fraudsters and fake companies in pension scams.
Cold calls or emails and letters from an unknown source are commonly used methods, while offers for a “free pension” review should also set alarm bells ringing.
Another wild claim which Mr Tully says is highly likely of fraudulent activity is schemes to free up your money from a pension before the age of 55.
Other signs of a scam, according to Government advice, include an individual or company encouraging you to take out a large sum of money, or the whole pension pot in one go, to let them invest it for you.
Putting you under pressure to make a quick decision, for example making time-sensitive offers, is also another common tactic used by crooks.
If you are unsure if the person approaching you is who they say they are, check the individual or company on the Financial Services Register or call the Financial Conduct Authority on 0800 111 6768.