This month, West Yorkshire Trading Standards is issuing a scam warning around April’s pension freedom reforms.
Financial fraud is on the rise in the UK. One such way of tricking victims out of their cash is a pension scam, also known as “one-off pension investment”, “a pension loan”, “early pension release”, “pension selling”, “pension liberation,” or “cashing in your pension.” Enticing as these might sound, there is a real risk that pension scheme members who are taken in, will lose most, if not all, of their savings.
This month, it is anticipated that many people will reconsider their options in light of new freedoms, including giving savers the opportunity to access their entire pension pot from age 55. There is growing concern that pension freedom reforms may create opportunities for fraudsters to prey on scheme members who have taken the chance to access their pension early, one such opportunity being bogus investment schemes.
One of the ways in which West Yorkshire Trading Standards prevents victimisation of such scams is through the SAFER (Scams & Fraud Education for Residents) Project, a community protection and empowerment programme working with older adults. The project aims to provide residents with the knowledge, skills and confidence to protect themselves against doorstep crime and scams, and also to provide frontline financial advice and support to those already in crisis from such activity. If you would like to know more about The SAFER Project, run community groups for older people or work with older and vulnerable people and would be interested in community workshops or partner training please get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org
Top Tips for keeping your money safe:
- If you require advice regarding pensions you could speak to; Money Advice Service: moneyadviceservice.org.uk Telephone: 03005005000 or Pensions Advisory Service: www.pensionsadvisoryservice.org.uk Tel: 0845 601 2923
- Research any loan or investment companies before making any financial commitment. Also make sure you read the terms and conditions
- Never set up an investment that starts with a cold call
- Go to fca.org.uk for a list of authorised firms and top tips on how to avoid unauthorised investments
Above all remember, if the investment or loan opportunity seems too good to be true, it probably is!