The Ipswich & District Citizens Advice Bureau is warning pensioners in Ipswich about scammers targeting their pension pot.
New evidence from national charity Citizens Advice finds that scammers are using various tactics to target pensioners, including convincing victims to move their pension pots into fraudulent schemes, pretending to be their employer or pension provider, and offering bogus ‘free’ financial advice.
Ipswich CAB reports five common types of scams targeting pensioners:
Moving savings into a new ‘pension’
Scammers charge pensioners high fees for moving their pension but nothing happens; the money is moved without their permission; or the pensioner agrees the move then the money goes missing or is transferred to fraudulent schemes.
Fake investment opportunities
People are told by scammers they can get more out of their savings by investing in in pricey goods, like wine, or ‘revolutionary’ new products or projects.
Offering free “advice” and support
Scammers offer ‘free’ pensions advice or a review of the victim’s savings, which can cost money and be useless or may just be a cover for obtaining crucial personal details.
Charging a fee for a dodgy service
People are offered services for a fee. In some cases no service is provided at all, whereas in others a service is provided but it is either expensive or not in the consumer’s best interest.
Getting personal information from people
Using the phishing or vishing techniques of contacting people by email or over the phone, scammers get victims to hand over personal data, like their National Insurance number and bank account. Sometimes the con will use information such as the person’s employer or pension provider.
The new evidence report from Citizens Advice finds people aged 65 and over are more than twice as likely to come to Citizens Advice with a fraud or scam issue.
Ipswich CAB is calling on people to tell others about suspicious phone calls and report them to authorities.
Nicky Willshere, Manager of the Ipswich bureau, said: “Scammers see pensioners as a prime target. There are many people looking to benefit from the new pension rules, including scammers. Fraudsters can ruin people’s retirement plans by taking a portion or all of a victim’s pension pots.
“Anyone who feels unsure about a cold call or dodgy offer they have received about their pension should let someone else know, and report it to the authorities. People can get help and support from Citizens Advice if they are worried they have been targeted by scammers.
“Pension Wise guidance will help people get to grips with their pension options and equip them with the knowledge of what to look out for to help them avoid falling victim to scams. Regulators and the authorities must work together to quickly identify scams and stop pension scammers from going on to do more harm.”
Examples of scams seen by Citizens Advice are:
One 79 year old was called about an ‘opportunity’ to invest in wines, leading him to withdraw all of his savings – worth over £7,000 – for this. Later the company sent him a letter requesting a further £5,500, stating that if he did not invest extra he might lose the money he had already invested.
One woman sought Citizens Advice’s help after she received a call claiming to help check she was receiving all of the pensions she was entitled to. Having provided some details to help with this ‘free’ process, she later discovered that an attempt had been made to withdraw money from her pension fund.
Another woman received a letter that seemed to be from her former employer. It asked her to confirm she was the person named on the pension and to send details such as date of birth and National Insurance number. She was confused because she was receiving her occupational pension and knew the real provider already had the information.
Tell someone else about a possible scam, an unsolicited phone call or text, or offer of money
Never give out your bank details or send money unless you are certain you can trust the person who has asked you to this
Don’t feel pressured to make a decision straight away, instead take your time
Seek advice – you can call the Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 04 05 06
Report a potential scam to Citizens Advice or to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040
How to get help from Pension Wise:
People approaching retirement with a defined contribution pension pot will be able to get help from Pension Wise:
online by visiting the Government’s Pension Wise website
by telephone by calling 030 0330 1001
by contacting any Citizens Advice Bureau
Appointments for face to face guidance can be made via any Citizens Advice Bureau.