Shock pension scam robs two pensioners of £1 million each

Two British pensioners have been robbed of more than £1 million each through a series of elaborate pension scams say Action Fraud.

The identities of the two individuals is being protected by police, but it is known they lost their life savings over two years to June 2018.

Devastating

Pauline Smith, director of Action Fraud, said: “These statistics prove that the consequences of falling victim to a pension scam can be devastating.

“Victims can lose their life savings and are left facing retirement with little or no income.

Vigilant

“This is why it’s so important that you are vigilant if you receive an offer about your pension out of the blue and that you check who you are dealing with.

“If you think you have been a victim of pension fraud, please report it to us.”

Biggest losers

The two pensioners are the biggest losers among thousands which were uncovered by Project Bloom, a multi-agency group set up six years ago to investigate pension scams.

A report from the group revealed that the average victim was conned out of £91,000 by fraudsters in 2017, but it is believed the majority of fraud victims never report the crime to police.

How do scams work?

Action Fraud say a scam starts with an unexpected phone call, message, text, email or social media approach offering a free pension review or a way to make attractive returns on your pension savings.

Once the fraudster has your details the money may simply be stolen direct from your account or transferred to a high risk scheme which is completely inappropriate for retirement savings.

Cold calls

Many of the victims who spoke to police reported receiving cold calls out of the blue.

A ban on cold calls recently came into force with penalties of up to £½ million for anyone breaking the rules. Unfortunately, this only applies to firms registered in the UK.

There is no control over calls from abroad and in any case experts believe that fraudsters will simply ignore the ban.

Traumatised

Nicola Parish of The Pension Regulator said: “Victims of scams are often traumatised by what has happened to them and many inevitably are left questioning how they are going to afford to retire.

“The average loss of a victim is £91,000 but these Action Fraud reports show that people can also lose much, much more.

“However large your pension pot, you must be vigilant and able to spot and avoid a scam.”