Firms who advertise and arrange pensions are offering investments in alternative commodities such as hotel developments or property in Cape Verde, and operate as unregulated collective investment schemes.
The cold calling ‘pension companies involved, who offer exceptionally high return rates for investors, may be neither regulated nor qualified to give financial advice and classify themselves as a ‘trustee’, ‘consultant’ or an ‘independent advisor’.
Some victims have signed documents authorising a limited company to be set up using their personal details, including utilising a Small Self–Administered Scheme (SSAS) - which, although necessary for a legitimate scheme, do not always appear to have been fully explained, again suggesting that an element of fraud may have been involved.
Citizens Advice recently reported that nearly nine in 10 people miss common warning signs of a pensions scam – such as unusually high investment returns, cold calling and offers of free financial advice – despite feeling confident that they can spot fraudsters’ tricks.
Action Fraud have offered the following tips on protecting yourself:
Ensure that you request that the risks and growth rates are explained and that you fully understand them before transferring your pension.
Check whether the pension arrangement company is registered with the FCA. Registered companies can be checked using the FCA register online.
If you’re thinking about how to invest your retirement savings, follow these 10 steps to protect your pension.
Remember that if the offer seems too good to be true, then it generally is.
To report a fraud and receive a police crime reference number, call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or use our online fraud reporting tool at www.actionfraud.police.uk/report_fraud www.actionfraud.police.uk/report_fraud