Figures from the national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime reveal that £1.8 million has already been lost to pension fraud this year alone.
Action Fraud's latest data shows that there was a steady fall in pension scam reports from 1,788 in 2014 to 358 in 2020 – a reduction of almost 80 per cent.
However, there has been an increase in reporting so far this year, with 107 reports of pension fraud received in the first three months of 2021. This is an increase of almost 45 per cent when compared to the same period in 2020.
Pauline Smith, Head of Action Fraud, explained the danger that these scams can bring as she said: "Criminals are malicious and unapologetic when it comes to committing pension fraud.
"They are motivated by their own financial gain and lack any kind of empathy for their victims, who can often lose their whole life savings to these scams.
"We know pension fraud can have a devastating impact, both financially and emotionally, but any one of us can fall victim to fraud and it’s nothing to feel ashamed or embarrassed about. It’s incredibly important that instances of pension fraud, and attempted scams, are reported to Action Fraud. Every report helps police get that bit closer to the people committing these awful crimes.
"Reporting to Action Fraud also allows our specialist victim-support advocates to provide people with important protection advice and signpost them to local support services."
As part of their latest awareness campaign, Action Fraud has issued the following advice to protect people from pension scams:
Reject unexpected pension opportunities, such as free pension reviews or investment opportunities involving your pension, whether made via email, social media, text, or over the phone.
Research who you’re dealing with before changing your pension arrangements – check the FCA Register, or call the FCA on 0800 111 6768 to see if the firm is authorised by the FCA.
Don’t be rushed or pressured into making any decision about your pension – consider getting impartial information and advice from a financial advisor authorised by the FCA to help you make the best decision for your own personal circumstances.
Be suspicious if you are contacted out of the blue about an investment opportunity - seek advice from trusted friends, family members or an independent professional advice service before making a significant financial decision, especially when it involves your pension pot. Even genuine investment schemes can be high risk.
If you think you’ve been a victim of pension fraud, contact your pension provider immediately and report it to Action Fraud online by clicking here or by calling 0300 123 2040.
You can also report an unauthorised firm or a scam to the FCA by using their reporting form or by calling 0800 111 6768.