Pension fraudsters are increasingly using investment cons to target savers’ cash lump sums following Chancellor George Osborne’s retirement overhaul, a new survey suggests.
A Citizens Advice survey of more than 460 local Citizens Advice managers, staff, volunteers and Pension Wise guiders found 40 per cent had spoken to individuals repeatedly targeted by scammers, while 10 per cent reported contact with people who had either responded or fallen victim to fraudsters.
Half of staff said fraudsters are increasingly targeting cash lump sums with dubious investment offers.
Citizens Advice chief executive Gillian Guy says: “Opportunistic fraudsters are finding new ways to go after people’s pension pots including offering free pension reviews and promising to invest in funds that don’t necessarily exist.
“Pension and investment scams are particularly dangerous as they can destroy people’s entire pension pot, leaving them with little or no savings for retirement.
“We will be monitoring pension scams closely in order to track how they are evolving, and warn consumers what to look out for.”
City minister Harriett Baldwin adds: “We are working tirelessly to shut down illegal scams and bring scammers to justice.
“We’ve already made it illegal to imitate Pension Wise, are running scams awareness campaigns and have set up The Financial Conduct Authority which has the power to prosecute scammers.”
Citizens Advice also found fraudsters were most likely to reach out to savers by phone call, with more than 80 per cent contacted in this way.
One in three were contacted by email or post, and a further 20 per cent first approached by text message.
The survey comes just two months after the Office for National Statistics reported a 5 per cent increase in cases of pension liberation fraud.