Are Pension Frauds on the Rise?

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SIX Years. That’s the total jail sentence two corrupt financial advisers recently received for defrauding more than £22million from over 250 pensioners – with each victim losing between £10,000 and £200,000.1

This wasn’t some old rookie Ponzi scheme. This was an elaborate and credible operation that left many of its victims without pensions and forced to work well past their retirement dates. It’s also every investor’s nightmare.

Are Pension Frauds on the Rise?

While the official data for 2022 is a bit flimsy, Action Fraud reported that there was a spike in pension fraud in the first three months of 2021 with 107 individual accounts reported. This was an increase of almost 45% compared to the same period in 2020.

But while official data is lacking, some useful research from Lottie — a search and comparison site for nursing homes and senior communities — has shown that online searches for people seeking support after falling victim to pension and investment fraud have increased significantly Has.

From January to March 2022, online searches on Google increased by 75% for “fraud help‘, a 50% increase for ‘fraud support‘, a 24% increase in online searches after ‘pension fraud‘ and 22% more searches for ‘pension fraud‘ and ‘investment fraud.’

What makes retirees an easy target?

The introduction of the Pension Freedom Act in 2015 may well have contributed to the increase in pension fraud as people are more flexible in managing their pensions. Undoubtedly, the uncertainty associated with the pandemic will have contributed to this. As has the recent cost of living crisis. Why?

Desperate times often call for desperate measures. And scammers prey on the weak. With inflation now at 9.4%, it’s easy to see how tempting scammers’ claims can be when people are struggling to keep up with soaring prices and the cost of living crisis.

Protect yourself from pension fraud

You know what they say…if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Never act in the moment. Stop. Think. Please investigate. Certain phrasing such as ‘free pension review’, ‘pension exemption’, ‘higher returns than usual’, ‘freeing up cash from your pension early’ (if you’re under 55), ‘loophole’, ‘savings’ should sound the alarm ‘Advance’ and ‘one-time investment’.

Here are three practical steps you can take to protect yourself.

1. Knowledge is your best defense – Visit our dedicated pension fraud section of our website. It’s full of useful tips and contact information. Investing with us also allows you to find out what we do to protect you online and how you can protect yourself.

2. Consider merging your pensions – It’s hard to keep track of your pensions when they’re scattered all over the place. Find out more about transferring your pensions here.

3. Consider financial advice – Speak to a financial advisor to find out if a personal recommendation is right for you. We also have specialist consultants for retirement planning.

Source:

1 Financial Times—July 18, 2022

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