£33m of scams prevented through Action Fraud

Government ministers have estimated that £33m was saved from “falling into the wrong hands” through the joint-regulator campaign against pension scams, Action Fraud.

Pensions Minister Guy Opperman and Economic Secretary to the Treasury John Glen described the campaign, run by The Pensions Regulator and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), was “highly successful” and resulted in a “significant increase in scams being reported”.

In a letter to the Work and Pensions Select Committee, the MPs noted that the campaign had helped warn 370 people that called Scam Smart that they were talking to an unauthorised company, “which helped keep their money safe”.

The letter was a follow up to issues that the ministers believed to be of interest to the committee regarding a number of queries from the committee, and discussed prohibition orders issued by the FCA.

It revealed that the FCA had issues probation orders, sometimes known as ‘lifetime bans’, to 20 people in FY 2018/19, compared to 19 in 2017/18.

Discussing the probation orders, the MPs stated: “The regulator is not seeking to punish the individual for misconduct, but rather are taking protective action to stop individuals from causing harm in the future.”

Opperman and Glen also noted that it was difficult to gather reliable data on scams, as many people do not know they have been scammed “until several years after the event”, or are “reluctant” to report being deceived.

The letter stated that the number of appointments with the Pension Wise service had increased by 180 per cent between 2015/16 and 2018/19, from 60,939 to 167,654.

The MPs concluded: “Whilst we and our predecessors have done much to address issues with pension costs and transparency, we recognise there is always more we can do.”

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