As part of Scams Awareness Month, Acumen is warning savers and retirees to seek out professional financial advice before investing money in too good to be true schemes that promise the earth but turn out to be fraudulent.
Citizens Advice and Trading Standards Services launched their annual Scams Awareness Month on 1 July to highlight how scams continue to flourish when people stay silent. There are two central pillars to their campaign that they are asking people to consider, which are: don’t be rushed and don’t be hushed. Think through any money-based decision first and arm with yourself facts to avoid falling foul of scammers.
As part of the wide-reaching campaign, The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has ramped up its online awareness material and produced a checklist of scam warning signs. TPR has also produced a video (see below) to warn of the dangers, amid research from Zurich that found that around 40 percent of people over the age of 50 could be vulnerable to pension scams because they aren’t suspicious enough of unsolicited letters.
Arm yourself with the facts
TPR chief executive, Lesley Titcomb, told Professional Pensions: “The people behind pension scams are shape shifters. They are sophisticated and well organised so we have to be resourceful, tenacious and work collaboratively with government, law enforcement and other agencies to educate the public, disrupt the activities of scammers and take legal action where necessary.
“Consumers have their part to play by arming themselves with the facts. In addition, pension scheme trustees should be warning members to be vigilant and informed as to the dangers of potential scams. Trustees can play their part by directing savers to scorpion material, helping their members to recognise the hallmarks of scams and how to protect themselves,” she added.
Speak to an IFA to find out how and where to invest money
Some of the common tactics used by pension scammers include offering free pension reviews, health checks and promises of better returns on savings, pension loans, upfront cash or other tempting promotions. Most of which are bogus, say the Pensions Regulator. But there is one very simple, but highly effective, way of protecting yourself. That is to seek out the guidance of an Independent Financial Adviser, who is trained to know the best places to invest your money.
“Unfortunately scammers are increasingly dialled into the fact that many pensioners are opting to cash in some or all of their pension pots, following the new pension reforms, which leaves them vulnerable to fraudulent schemes and confidence tricks,” according to Acumen Managing Director and pensions specialist, Angela Maher.
The last thing we want to see is people losing their entire life savings at the hands of opportunistic fraudsters. Which is why we would strongly advise anyone who wants to invest money, or pension pot savings, to speak to a FCA approved Independent Financial Adviser first to ensure that their hard-earned savings are protected in good investments
“Speaking to one of our regulated advisers here at Acumen is a price worth paying if it saves a great deal of heartache down the line,” she added.