Don’t Let A Scammer Beat You To the End of Your Pension Rainbow

For years, people work hard for their money, and when they reach the end of that 9 to 5 rainbow, many of them are happy to find their pension pots! Equivalent to what leprechauns would consider their pot of gold, pension pots are peoples’ savings tickets to a life of leisure and relaxation.

Unfortunately, pension recipients in the UK should be taking a cue from Lucky (yes, even cartoons can give sound advice) who’s always on the run from those pesky kids trying to “catch his lucky charms,” because, in reality, those in the UK are in danger too. Instead of watching out for kids, UK citizens should be wary of scammers who are trying to con them out of their pension plans.

First things first, how do you know if you’re being scammed? Pension scammers are big on cold calls, using the telemarketer tactic. They want to catch you off guard and when you’re the most vulnerable. Below are a few ways they rope you in:

•Pitching a once in a lifetime investment or business opportunity thanks to extra tax savings and/or high returns from overseas investments (i.e. investing in a vacation rental in a heavily populated tourist area)
•Helping you access your pension before you turn 55
•Encouraging you to take out your pension in total, and insisting that you let them invest it for you
•Disguising themselves as an associate from your bank and informing you that your pension plan has changed and you now must make payments into a new account

It’s important to note that some off these offers may be legitimate but here are some ways to decipher the difference:

•Scammers will pressure and not give you ample time to make big decisions
•Scammers don’t want or allow you to call them back or they’ll provide you with a website that only includes a phone number and PO box address
•People under 55 can’t legally access their pensions quite yet

Despite the knowledge we have about the pension scams, there’s no way to catch and stop all of them. Here are a few ways you can protect yourself:

•Never give personal or financial information to an unexpected caller, especially if you have not confirmed they are from a legitimate company
•Ask the caller to provide you with a good call back number, hang up, then call them back (or better yet, contact your bank directly)
•Before giving the caller access to invest your pension, request a statement showing how your pension will be paid at retirement, and ask who will be in charge of your money until you retire
•If you are contacted by an associate who says your pension plan has changed, hang up and contact your bank directly to confirm if any changes have been made
•If you do not know the caller is from a viable firm, check if they are on the Financial Service Register or contact the Financial Conduct Authority

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