By David Porter, Financial Planning Consultant, Armstrong Watson LLP

MORE than £30m has been lost since 2017 to pension fraud, according to an article published on the 26 August by Action Fraud, as scammers tout unrealistic investments.

In a recent article on the BBC website (26/8/2020) men aged in their 50s are the most likely victims of fraudsters who target people's long-term pension savings.

Both the Pensions Regulator (TPR) and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) have launched a campaign against scammers fronted by the football commentator Clive Tyldesley, who will use a raft of football analogies to raise awareness among savers about how to avoid scams.

People can fall for at least one of five common tactics used by pension scammers:

• Contact out of the blue offering exceptional returns on investments

• Collective investment schemes requiring you and a group of people to invest and maintain a project

• Early equity release schemes

• Land investment schemes offering development opportunities with high returns

• Time limited offer.

It is estimated some 10.9 million unsolicited pension calls and messages are made a year, according to Citizens Advice.

This provides a lucrative opportunity for fraudsters. Pension freedoms legislation, though enormously popular with consumers, has also created a potentially lucrative opportunity for fraudsters, and people need to be vigilant to safeguard their hard-earned retirement savings. If it sounds too good to be true, then it usually is, and people should be sceptical of investments that are offering unusually high rates of return or which invest in unorthodox products which may be difficult to understand.

There are some simple steps to help avoid these scams and better protect yourself:

• Reject unexpected offers – don’t be swayed by a fantastic return from a company you have never heard of.

• Check who you are dealing with – if you get a call from your bank or credit card provider then put the phone down and use a different phone to phone them back. Chances are they didn’t call you.

• Don’t be rushed or pressured into doing or accepting something – take your time to check everything out and never worry about an amazing time-sensitive deal.

• Always get impartial advice or information - if in any doubt, seek advice from a regulated professional financial adviser or information/guidance from The Pensions Advisory Service.

You can report suspected frauds on the ActionFraud helpline 0300 123 1047 or online at, and more advice is available at

If you’d like clear, honest advice from an independent financial adviser, please give me a call on 0776 695 3454 or email