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British pension savers lose £31 million to scams since 2017 – regulators

File Photo: British Pound Sterling Banknotes Are Pictured At The Money Service Austria Company's Headquarters In Vienna
REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

British savers have lost 31 million pounds to pension scams since 2017 according to official data but the actual figures are likely to be much higher, British watchdogs said on Tuesday.

Individual losses from pension scams reported to the Action Fraud national reporting centre ranged from less than 1,000 pounds to 500,000 pounds, and the average victim was male and aged in their 50s, the Financial Conduct Authority and The Pensions Regulator said.

A total of £30,857,329 has been reportedly lost to pension scammers since 2017 according to complaints filed with Action Fraud, says the Financial Conduct Authority and The Pensions Regulator.

The figures are likely to be under-stated because pension savers often don’t recognise when investment schemes are scams, and also do not know how much they have in their pension pots, the regulators said.

British lawmakers last month launched an inquiry into pension scams following a relaxation in pension rules five years ago which increased the scope for fraud, a problem expected to get worse during the coronavirus pandemic.

“During these uncertain times, it is more important than ever to defend your lifetime savings from scammers,” said Mark Steward, Executive Director of Enforcement and Market Oversight at the FCA.

That’s why, as part of their ScamSmart campaign, the regulators have teamed up with legendary football commentator Clive Tyldesley (aged 65) 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.”

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