Britain’s financial watchdog, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), has cautioned pension holders to tune in to scammers’ ‘magic tricks.’

Research shows that the economic squeeze is encouraging more people to withdraw pension savings, with a quarter of all pension holders considering an early raid due to cost-of-living pressures. This is putting a significant number of people at risk of potential scams. Scammers are preying on consumers’ misunderstanding of how pensions work and pension pots grow.

Tactics – tune in

FCA research has highlighted consumer vulnerability to some classic ‘distraction’ tactics. For example, around 44% of pension holders said they would take up the offer of a free pension review.

The FCA has compiled a list of common scam techniques to help people avoid falling victim, these include:

– High-pressure sales tactics using ‘time-limited offers’

– Guaranteed higher returns

– Unusual unregulated investments

– Arrangements involving several parties

– Any offer to release pension funds for under-55s.

Devastating consequences

FCA Executive Director of Enforcement, Mark Steward, is urging consumers to visit the watchdog’s ScamSmart website to “avoid being tricked by scammers.” Adding, “Pension scammers are tricking victims with false promises of a better lifestyle in retirement. Like the magician’s trick, thousands can disappear in seconds, but this time the consequences can be devastating.” Trust your instinct – if you ever have any doubts when contacted in relation to your pension, get in touch.