Pension scam victims are falling for fraudsters posing as claim managers offering to help regain their money – for a fee.
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The Pensions Advisory Service (TPAS) CEO Michelle Cracknell says these ‘double scammers’ are deliberately targeting their victims to try and shake them down for even more cash.
She is warning that these scams have significantly increased in recent months.
“Pension scams have been around for years,” Cracknell said.
“Unfortunately the scammers keep coming up with new ways to steal money. As customers notice they have lost money, they become desperate to try and resolve their situation and this is when the double scammer strikes.”
Bogus claim managers
She explained that fraudsters who are bogus claims managers working with the scammers get in touch with victims.
They say they know who the offenders are and can get the money they have lost in the scam back if the victim pays a 25% up-front fee.
TPAS, an official government agency, has been collecting evidence of the scammers.
Several victims have provided emails showing how the fraudsters trick their victims:
- An investor with risky alternative investments in a pension was contacted by a claims manager after the firm holding a ‘massive part’ of his retirement savings went bust.
That company then disappeared after the investor signed over more money to them.
- A second investor was approached by a scammer who offered to help the investor find out if he his closed pension had fully paid out or whether money was left in the scheme.
The victim asked TPAs whether this was a scam as the claims investigator had asked for a fee to carry out the work.
- A retirement saver was approached by a company telling him his pension trustee had gone bust and they were taking over, but needed a lot of personal information to do so.
The saver told TPAS he thought he had been scammed by both companies working in collusion
QROPS betting offer
Another advice firm warned against a Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS) investment that is suspected of trying to raise £20 million cash to stake on football match betting.
“Scam victims tend to look for high return investments to win back the cash they have lost, but these risky investments are likely to lose them even more money,” said Cracknell.
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