Pension Scams – Spot the Warning Signs



Gary Slater is a pension transfer specialist authorised by the FCA to offer advice on occupational pension transfers. As the Government has officially banned pension cold-calling, Gary discusses the dangers of sophisticated scammers and how to avoid them.


Having saved your entire working life for a comfortable retirement and felt financially savvy for much of this time, you probably think it’s impossible for you to fall victim to a pension scam. Yet by using a credible amount of financial knowledge, a professional looking website and plausible testimonials, the sophisticated scammer is getting harder and harder to spot. Following a rapid rise in pension scams, the government has imposed a ban on pension cold-calling. Despite legislation coming into force, people are still being advised to be on their guard.


It is important to remember that whilst most scams happen out of the blue – you might receive a telephone call, text or email – you could be introduced to a scammer through a friend or relative. Whether you receive a phone call or meet in person, the scammer will invariably be incredibly persuasive and offer a highly attractive proposition. High pressure sales tactics are incredibly common. Scammers tend to guarantee higher returns if you sign up before a certain deadline. It is not uncommon for them to rush through the approval of paperwork and arrange couriers to collect signed documents. The proposition is usually complex and involves unregulated high-risk investments in activities such as overseas property, diamonds and forestry projects.


If something appears too good to be true, it usually is. This old adage is absolutely true in the case of pension scams. Whilst many regulated financial advisers offer a complimentary financial review at the outset of your relationship, they do not implement their recommendations for free. If you are offered pension advice completely free of charge, a scam is likely to be underway.


Whether alarms bells start to ring or remain stubbornly silent, if an unknown person or company approaches you regarding financial advice, it is important you carry out comprehensive background checks on their credentials. You can validate whether they are regulated or not by checking the FCA Register and the FCA Warning List. You should not be rushed in any way to sign up to a new pension scheme, no matter how attractive it appears. Additionally, you ought to seek impartial advice by approaching a reputable company and the Pensions Advisory Service.


If you are alerted to a pension scam or unauthorised firm, you can report it to the FCA or Action Fraud. If you suspect you have been a victim of a scam, contact your existing pension provider at the earliest opportunity, as they may be able to stop the transfer of funds. If a transfer has taken place, you could be targeted by other criminals, so it is important you report any fraudulent activity that may have occurred.


Should you have any concerns about this article or wish to discuss your pension options, including occupational pension transfers, please email,


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