Pensioners at risk from scammers

Fraudulent pension schemes, employer impersonation and fake financial advice are some of the tactics used to defraud pensioners, according to Citizens Advice.

The report consolidates 150 different cases of pensioners being convinced to give up some or all of their pension pot, and identifies the 5 most common scams being used:

  1. Moving savings
  2. Pensioners are charged high fees for transferring their pension into a fraudulent scheme. Sometimes the money is moved without their permission.

  3. Fake investments
  4. Fraudsters tell pensioners that they can make good returns by making expensive investments.

  5. Fraudulent advice and support
  6. Some people have been offered 'free' advice which ends up costing them money and their personal details.

  7. Fake services
  8. Scammers offer a paid-for service which is either not delivered or is not in the best interest of the consumer.

  9. Obtaining personal information
  10. Pensioners have been tricked to hand over personal information such as their bank account details and national insurance number after being contacted by email or phone. These are known as 'phishing' scams.

Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice, said:

"There are many people looking to benefit from the new pension rules, including scammers.
"Anyone who feels unsure about a cold call or dodgy offer they have received about their pension should let someone else know, and report it to the authorities."

Citizens Advice's findings correspond with a new survey by charity Age UK showing that 53% of over-65s think they have been targeted by scammers. Although many do not respond to suspicious communications, of those who do 70% across all age groups have lost money.

Age UK is urging the government to widen their crackdown on scammers by creating a National Scams Task Force. This body would prioritise combating scams and submit annual progress reports.

Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK, said:

"This review should act as a wake-up call since there is more we can and should do to combat the problem. Government and other policymakers need to recognise the big and growing threat to older people that fraud represents and take much more determined action against it."

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