Last Updated on Tuesday, 22 March 2016 15:06
The Pensions Regulator has released a warning to pension scheme members to raise awareness of pension liberation fraud. Scheme members are being encouraged to transfer to a bogus pension "liberation" scheme.
However, you could be subject to a very large tax penalty of more than half of your pension savings. Companies claim they can help you access your pension fund before the minimum pension age of 55 and without tax consequences. This applies to overseas schemes as well as in the UK.
What to look out for
Watch out for fake websites
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is a Government body that regulates the companies and individuals who are able to provide you with independent financial advice. Scam artists don't just set up fake websites to catch out people shopping online. Some are even copying official Government service sites to try and get hold of people's valuable information. Make sure the sites you're looking at are genuine by visiting gov.uk and finding out if they're listed under official government services.
Beware cold callers
If you receive a cold call about your pension the chances are it's a scam. SPPA would not instigate an unsolicited call or visit you at home to ask about your pension plans.
Encouraging you to invest your pension?
SPPA can't offer financial advice. Please explore all of the options and decide if you need to meet with a Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) approved Financial Advisor.
Here are some common features that may indicate what you are being offered is a pension scam:
phrases like 'one-off investment opportunities', 'free pension reviews', 'legal loopholes', 'cash bonus', 'government endorsement' should be treated with caution
victims are typically approached out of the blue over the phone, by text messages or in person door-to-door
your money is transferred overseas or you are advised of exotic overseas investments
you are told they have found a 'legal loophole'
the promise of access to your pension before the age of 55
there's no member copy of documentation
you are encouraged to speed up transfers of your money to the new scheme