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Government to crack down on pension scam

by Jonathan Adams

Government plans to come down heavily on fraudsters tricking pensioners

There has been demand for strict measures as the UK pension scam gets bigger and serious. Millions of pounds are siphoned away by the scammers, which has created serious concerns across the country. An increasing number of savers are falling prey to the massive scam hitting the country.

This has prompted the government to take strong steps. It is planning measures to curb the menace of pension fraud. The government is concerned about pensioners losing their hard earned money. Now ministers want tighter rules on transferring money between pension schemes. Steps such as banning cold calls, texts and emails will be enforced by the Information Commissioner’s Office. Ministers are also promising tighter rules to make it harder for scammers to open fraudulent pension schemes.

The fake callers encourage savers to part with their money with false promises of low-risk, high-return investment opportunities. Now, trustees will check the authenticity of a financial scheme before any money is transferred from an occupational pension. They will make sure that the scheme is regulated by the FCA. Data by the City of London Police showed those targeted have lost an average of nearly £15,000 since April 2014.

Sir Steve, pensions minister in the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government and now policy director at Royal London has demanded immediate action against fraudsters.

He said,

“Whilst this announcement is welcome, it is vital this ban is implemented as a matter of urgency.

“Savers are being ripped off every day, and the official figures greatly understate the amount that is being lost.

“We cannot afford to wait months or even years before it is illegal to phone someone up out of the blue in this way, as a cold call is often the first step to a scam.”

Pensions Minister Guy Opperman said:

“Today’s figures highlight the extent to which people’s savings are being targeted and stolen through elaborate hoaxes – leaving them with little opportunity to build up their savings again.

“That is why we are introducing tough new measures for those who scam.

“If people have saved for a private pension, we want to protect them. This is the biggest lifesaving that individuals normally make over many years of hard work.

“By tackling these scammers, people should know that cold calling, apart from exceptional circumstances, is banned.”

Economic secretary to the Treasury, Stephen Barclay said:

“It’s utterly unacceptable that people who have worked all their lives to build up a pension pot should be subject to scams which may leave them out of pocket.

“Pensions are often the most valuable asset a person has upon reaching retirement – and that’s why we are determined to crack down on scammers and protect our hardworking savers.”

A research by Citizens Advice has noted that 10.9 million people received unwanted calls, emails and texts in the year 2016.

Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice, said:

“Banning unsolicited calls – a move Citizens Advice has been calling for – will make it much easier for people to spot a pension scam, and should put fraudsters off making contact out of the blue in the first place.”

Read More: Pensions Freedom And Brexit Push Demand For Alternatives

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