Pension changes could give green light to fraudsters, warn police
New rules allowing greater access to pension funds from an earlier age could give scam artists more opportunity to commit crimes, warn police.
Changes to the governing of pensions come into effect in next month, with many over the age of 55 then able to access their funds.
But according to officers in the Herts force, this new flexibility could also increase the amount of criminals and unscrupulous salespeople looking to profit from pension investments and scams.
According to the county constabulary, pension fraud is not a new crime and fraudsters can take advantage of the complex pension regulations and the myriad options available to confuse and mislead pensioners.
People benefitting from the new rules after April 6 may be offered investment opportuniies that deliver poorer returns than promised, with high charges and hidden costs, or in the worst cases an entire pension pot could disappear.
Insp Paul Lawrence from the force’s Crime Reduction Unit said: “The new rules governing pensions give fraudsters another angle to try and trick people out of their hard earned money.
“Before people commit to anything, it is vitally important that they take steps to ensure the offers are legitimate and the government’s Pension Wise web page will help them to do this.”
Insp Lawrence advises using a Financial Conduct Authority-registered company or advisor when planning future pension investments – find out more at www.fca.org.uk/firms/systems-reporting/register.
The government Pension Wise service also helps those approaching retirement or over 55 to spot the warning signs of pension fraud including cold calls or messages to your phone, encouraging you to take out a large lump sum, or your whole pension pot as cash, and to let them invest it for you, or asking you to transfer your money quickly, even sending documents to you by courier.
For more advice visit www.pensionwise.gov.uk.