City regulators are braced for a deluge of scam cold calls aimed at parting newly rich pensioners from their cash.
Around £350 billion was unlocked by flexible access rules that came in on pension freedom day on April 6, 2015.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is warning the over 55s who can take access this cash not to rush financial decisions and to resist pressure from scammers to invest in dubious schemes.
According to the FCA, the most popular are:
- Boiler rooms selling restricted US shares which are difficult to resell
- Land banking schemes alleging profits are offered from buying land for development. Most of these schemes involve worthless land that is unsuitable for building
- Overseas property and crop scams – such as hotels, timber and other crop plantations
- Carbon credit trading
- Rare earth metals
- Graphene investment
- Networking schemes – these are inevitably pyramid selling or Ponzi frauds where early investors are paid from money collected from new entrants to the scheme
“Try and stay scam smart,” said an FCA spokesman. “The easiest way of dealing with these calls is simply not to answer any emails or hang up on phone calls.
“The scammers seem plausible, but inevitably they are after your cash. We’re expecting a flood of activity from these crooks now people can access their pension savings.”
Warnings about bogus advisers – Worldwide
Here are the latest rogue financial firm warnings on the International Organisation of Securities Commissions web site:
- Redwood Finances SL – Spain
- Sisma Capital Group – Spain
- Trade Market Options SL – Spain
- Forex scam updates from Autorité des Marchés Financiers – France
- RDL Management Ltd – Mauritius
Warnings about bogus advisers – UK
Here are the latest bogus financial advisers listed on the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) web site:
- Grey Corporate Partners
Dealing with an unregulated firm
If you buy shares, save money or invest with an unregulated firm, you lose any protection offered by the Financial Ombudsman and the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. Broadly, you have no independent place to complain if the deal goes wrong and are unlikely to win any compensation.
Checking if a firm is regulated
Go to the Financial Services Register to check if a firm is regulated in the UK.
Reporting a suspected bogus adviser