Pension Scam Cold Calling – Consultation

HM Treasury and the DWP have launched a joint consultation at options for preventing pension scams, which have long been the bane of the pensions industry.

The consultation which runs until 13th February 2017, proposes a multi-pronged approach to tackle the threat of pension scams, including:

  • An outright ban on ‘cold calling’ in respect of pensions, to be enshrined in primary legislation.
  • Restricting the circumstances in which an individual will have a statutory right to transfer their pension benefits.
  • Making it harder for fraudsters to set up small pension schemes likely to be used for pension scam purposes.

Cold-calling is the most common method used to instigate a pension scam. Indeed, I have received unsolicited calls from companies claiming that they have been “instructed by the Government to offer people a free pensions review”, or saying that there is a loophole in the pensions legislation that means people can access their pension funds from any age. I normally invite them for a meeting, they never want to meet once I explain who I am.

A blanket ban on pension cold-calls will provide a very clear message to the public – no legitimate organisation will ever cold-call you in respect of pensions. Any such call will be a scam.

Any UK based organisation that breaches this ban would be liable to sanctions imposed by the Information Commissioners Office, including a fine of up to £500,000.

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