Football commentator seeks to boot out pension scammers

With over £30m reportedly lost to pension fraud over the past three years, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and The Pensions Regulator (TPR) have launched a new advertising campaign, fronted by football commentator Clive Tyldesley, designed to show scammers the red card

According to complaints filed with Action Fraud a total of £30,857,329 has been reportedly lost to pension scammers since 2017. 

Reported losses ranged from under £1,000 to as much as £500,000, with the average victim being a man in his 50s.

The FCA says the true number of victims is likely to be much higher as savers fail to spot the signs of a scam and do not know how much is in their pots.

A survey of 2,000 respondents aged 45-65 including 1,261 football fans found only 43% knew how much is in their pot, while nearly half (45%) did not how to check if an approach about their pension is legitimate.

In comparison, 76% know the cost of items related to their team, such as a football shirt or season ticket.

Overconfidence was identified as a potential issue with nearly two thirds (65%) saying they would be confident in spotting a scam approach. However, 39% would put themselves at risk unknowingly by engaging with a common scam tactic such as being told it is a time-limited offer, or that there is a guaranteed high return on their savings.

As a result, the regulators have launched an advertising campaign warning those nearing retirement of the dangers of unsolicited calls about their pension plans.

It will be fronted by football commentator Clive Tyldesley, who said: ‘Scammers are very good at breaking down your defences and putting you under pressure with various deadlines.

‘But your pension isn’t a football transfer – there are no deadlines!

‘Your favourite team wouldn't buy a new striker just because his agent says he's good. They’d ask around, check out his stats, do some research – just like you should when handling your pension plans.

‘Before you fall foul to savvy scammers, remember to take your time, seek advice, and speak to an FCA authorised adviser. Don't agree to anything you’re unsure of.’

To prevent a pensions ‘own goal’ the ScamSmart campaign recommends four steps.

These are not being rushed or pressured into making any decision about a pension; rejecting unexpected pension offers whether made online, on social media or over the phone; checking a firm’s details with the FCA before changing pension arrangements; and considering obtaining impartial information and advice.

Mark Steward, executive director of enforcement and market oversight, FCA, said: ‘During these uncertain times, it is more important than ever to defend your lifetime savings from scammers.

‘Fraudsters will seek out every opportunity to exploit innocent people, no matter how much or how little you have saved.

‘You can check the status of a firm before changing your pension by visiting the FCA register, and get advice from an FCA authorised firm before making any changes to your pension.’

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