A PENSIONER WHO was pressurised into signing documents that would transfer his lifetime savings of over £100,000 from a company pension scheme was saved from what was a scam by a PensionWise guidance specialist.
That case and several others are being highlighted by Citizens Advice Scotland as typical of the con tricks currently being used by criminals throughout Scotland.
Scammers are using new pension freedoms as a cover to cold-call potential victims offering them “free pension reviews” – then promising better returns and early cash release from their pension pots.
However, their main objective is to persuade savers to transfer pension funds into unregulated investment schemes that often involve huge fees and tax penalties. In other cases they simply disappear with the cash leaving the victim with nothing.
PensionWise manager for Citizen Advice Scotland, Angela Spalding, said: “We have now had a number of instances of these scams reported to us, so it’s important to make people aware of the risk.
“Cold-callers are phoning individuals across Scotland, hoping to engage with pension savers. These callers are very persuasive, suggesting that they are experts doing you a ‘good turn’ and offering free reviews and early access to your pension cash.
“In fact, many of these people are not registered with the Financial Conduct Authority and they are often promoting the most high-risk, unregulated schemes on the market, often with overseas investments unsuitable for most savers.”
Angela added that the best way to deal with cold-callers is to put the phone down – and if they wished to review their retirement plans, contact an expert and obtain impartial guidance through the PensionWise service at a local Citizens Advice Bureau.
She added: “Like all CAB services, our pension guidance is free, confidential and independent. Face-to-face appointments are available to those approaching 50 or over.
“If you believe that you are a victim of a scammer or wish to report a potential scam, you can contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040. It’s important to report these calls when they do happen because the authorities may be able to prevent them potentially conning someone else.”