UK sees rise in pension scams during coronavirus pandemic
Recently, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) issued a particular warning to pensioners who may face being scammed out of money they have put aside for later life
Pension scams have increased during the coronavirus, as fraudsters have taken advantage of the rising confusion to attempt to dupe many unsuspecting Britons out of their hard-earned cash.
Financial experts from HSBC and Scottish Widows have reported many people are being directly targeted by criminals looking to take advantage of the situation and make money.
Recently, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) issued a particular warning to pensioners who may face being scammed out of money they have put aside for later life.
Con-artists have targeted the often vulnerable group in complex scams which could see Britons robbed of thousands.
Many fraudsters have claimed to be pension providers and insurers, contacting people over the phone or through email, and convincing pensioners to hand over money and other personal information.
With the drastic rise in pension scams, new advice has been offered concerning how pensioners can keep themselves, and their money, safe.
Dr Anna Tilba, from Durham University Business School, has offered pensioners tips and tricks to avoid being caught out.
She said: Coronavirus is creating favourable conditions for scammers who prey on vulnerable people and take advantage of panic, uncertainty and financial strain.
She warned pensioners to be vigilant of out of the blue opportunities of very high investment returns, stating these are probably a scam.
Dr Tilba also advised people to avoid cold callers who wish to discuss pension plans, whether it be on the phone, via text, email or social media.
For those under the age of 55, offers of ‘free pensions advice’ or ‘free pension reviews’ can often be fraudulent, so extra care must be taken.
Finally, it is important for all Britons to ensure pension advisors are regulated by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), which can be confirmed online.
The FCA has established a ScamSmart website which also provides further information on avoiding fraud.
The website offers advice on complex scams which can target many people each year.
Dr Tilba warned many fraudsters are convincing their unsuspecting victims to ‘protect’ their money from future economic depression during these uncertain times.
Scammers have also stated people may be able to access pension savings earlier or avoid employer insolvency.
These options often appear attractive on the surface, but can lead many down a dangerous path.
Fraudsters often charge extremely high transfer fees, which could totally destroy the savings of those who fall prey to the scam.
Fortunately, the UK Pension Regulator has provided extra advice to protect people against coronavirus scams.
Pension fund trustees have been given regular updates which urge vigilance against pension scams.
The regulator has also launched new guidance, which will allow employers to freeze defined benefit obligations for three months to help with the economic fallout of the virus.
This article is for information purposes only.
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