Shocking new research, that suggests that nearly one in ten pensioners have been victims of fraud in retirement, highlights the need for retirees to enlist the services of an Independent Financial Adviser to protect their hard-earned pension pots.
A nationwide study, commissioned by MetLife UK, has found that 9 per cent of retirees have fallen victim to, or been targeted, by financial fraudsters since they gave up work. Scams ranging from online phishing emails, through to bogus pension and investment schemes, highlight the overwhelming need for the newly retiring to safeguard their pension funds by consulting with an Independent Financial Adviser.
That is particularly important this year, given that the UK Government has increased pension flexibility to enable defined contribution pension savers aged 55 and over to access their funds as cash. In response, The Pensions Advisory Service, and Association of British Insurers, has launched an informative campaign to spot the warning signs and ultimately avoid succumbing to pension scams.
Pension Wise gives scam avoidance tips
The timely launch of the the Treasury’s guidance service, Pension Wise, arms retirees with information on how to avoid pension scams. It also gives six-step guidance for users to turn their pension pot into retirement income.
“Scammers may offer you tempting ways to invest your pension pot, e.g. investing it in a new hotel being built in an exotic location,” according to the Pension Wise website. “Most of these offers are fake but can appear very convincing.
“Their aim is to get you to cash in your pension pot and transfer the money. Once you’ve transferred your money into a scam, it’s too late. You could lose all your pension money as well as face tax of up to 55% or huge additional fees,” they add.
How to tell if it’s a pension scam
Pension Wise advises extreme caution against individuals or companies who:
- Cold call you about your pension money, either by phone or in person.
- Says you can access your pension money before 55 and that they can help.
- Encourages you to take out a large lump sum, or your whole pension pot as cash, and to let them invest it on your behalf.
- Asks you to transfer your money quickly – even sending documents by courier.
- Uses words like ‘pension liberation’, ‘loan’, ‘loophole’, ‘free pension review’ or ‘one-off investment.’
- Offers an investment described as ‘unique’, ‘overseas’, ‘environmentally friendly’, ‘ethical’ or in a ‘new’ industry..
Acumen’s account on matters
Acumen Managing Director and pensions specialist, Angela Maher, said: “The newfound pension flexibility that UK retirees now have should ensure that they enjoy long and happy retirements.
“However, with that increased solvency it is unfortunately inevitable that scammers will ramp up their efforts to fraudulently gain access to their hard-earned retirement funds.
“With that in mind it is more important than ever to seek independent advice. Not only to avoid the heartache of being fleeced by opportunistic thieves but also to safeguard your assets through careful financial planning.”
To discuss your pension plans with one of our dedicated team please contact us today on 0151 520 4353 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information please visit www.acumenfinancial.co.uk.