“Fraudster families” stealing millions from pensions

Couples and families are leading organised crime groups are running pension scams worth millions of pounds, according to the multi-agency Project Bloom group.

Project Bloom was set up to tackle pension scams and says among pension fraudsters there are a number which are family-run.

The group says there are criminal investigations into some of these gangs and a number of individuals linked to the pension scams have been suspended of banned from being trustees. In some cases companies used for the scams have been shut down.

A statement from The Pensions Regulator says there have been cases where the families have hired rogue pension specialists, including accountants, advisers and trustees, to run scams. TPR notes the scams would not be successful without help from these experts.

The average amount lost by victims of pension fraud in 2017 was £91,000.

Cold calling on pensions is one of the tactics used the fraudsters but has been banned since 9 January this year.

TPR executive director of frontline regulation Nicola Parish says:

“Trustees and administrators play a key role in preventing members from falling victim to scams by identifying suspicious requests early.

“The better they are at spotting the signs of a scam, the quicker members can be warned and we can investigate.

“Working together we can target those trying to plunder people’s pension pots and bring them to justice.”

Minister for pensions and financial inclusion Guy Opperman has harsh words for the scammers:

“Scammers who siphon off savings built up over decades are the lowest of the low. When you’ve worked hard and done the right thing, you don’t expect a con artist to rob you of the future you deserve.

“We’re determined to put a stop to the misery these callous crooks inflict, which is why we’re supporting the work being done to stamp out pension theft.”

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