The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and The Pensions Regulator have launched a new awareness campaign with football commentator Clive Tyldesley after they revealed over £30m has been reported lost to pension scams in the UK since 2017.
Yet the regulators believe this figure is likely to be "the tip of the pension scams iceberg," with huge amounts either unreported or linked to investments victims have been persuaded to transfer into.
The regulators today launched ScamSmart, a country-wide campaign fronted by football commentator Clive Tyldesley.
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!"
According to the regulators, just 43% know how much is in their pensions pot, yet 76% can cite the cost items related to football, such as a season ticket.
Tyldesley 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."
Charles Counsell of The Pensions Regulator said: "Scammers wreck lives and no matter how big or small your savings are, every pot is a target."
Mark Steward, FCA executive director of enforcement and market oversight, said: "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."
"During these uncertain times, it is more important than ever to defend your lifetime savings from scammers."
Tom Selby, senior analyst at AJ Bell, commented: "With the UK set to enter recession and millions facing unemployment as the Government's furlough scheme is pulled back, fraudsters will inevitably redouble efforts to part savers from their hard-earned pensions."
"Scams in general tend to be underreported for a variety of reasons - including in some cases embarrassment on the victims' part - while in recent years the target for scammers' activity has increasingly focused on attempting to coerce people to transfer their pension into investment-based schemes."