£2m lost to pension scams so far in 2021

More than £2m has been reportedly lost to pension scammers since the start of 2021, new FCA research has revealed.

Figures published by the regulator showed that the average loss to pension scams since the start of 2021 has been £50,94 – more than double the figure of £23,689 recorded in 2020.

The research, based on a study among 2,000 people, revealed that more than one in four pension holders (28%) felt more at risk of a pension scam now compared to before the COVID-19 crisis. Of those who felt more at risk, 65% felt that scammer tactics had become more sophisticated and harder to spot during the pandemic.

However, the findings also indicated that more than two-thirds (68%) of pension holders claimed they were confident they could spot the signs of a scam.

Commenting on the findings, AJ Bell senior analyst, Tom Selby, described the £2m figure lost to pension scams as “shocking”, but wanted it is still just the “tip of the iceberg”.

“Most scams occur outside of pensions nowadays, with retirement savers over age 55 who can access their retirement pot flexibly one of the prime targets for fraudsters,” Selby commented.

“We also know that the coronavirus pandemic has led to an increase in vulnerability, with more than 27 million adults in the UK demonstrating characteristics of vulnerability such as poor health, negative life events, low financial resilience or low capability.

“Depressing as it is, scammers prey on this vulnerability to try to fleece people out of their hard-earned retirement savings.

“While steps have been taken to protect pension savers, government and regulatory interventions can only do so much. It is vital individuals take responsibility, be careful before parting with their money and take the time to know the tell-tale signs of a scam.”

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