Action Fraud has revealed that £1.8m has been lost to pension fraud, and we’re not even half way through the year yet.
Pre-pandemic it appeared that the number of pension scam reports were falling, with data from the organisation revealing that reports in pension scams fell from 1,788 in 2014 to 358 in 2020.
However, in the first three months of 2021, that trend was bucked with 107 reports of pension fraud, an increase of 45% compared to the same time in 2020.
Pauline Smith, Head of Action Fraud, commented:
“Criminals are malicious and unapologetic when it comes to committing pension fraud. They are motivated by their own financial gain and lack any kind of empathy for their victims, who can often lose their whole life savings to these scams.
“We know pension fraud can have a devastating impact, both financially and emotionally, but any one of us can fall victim to a fraud and it’s nothing to feel ashamed or embarrassed about. It’s incredibly important that instances of pension fraud, and attempted scams are reported to Action Fraud.”
Kate Smith, Head of Pensions at Aegon, commented:
“It is so important that we continue to talk about this issue to make more people aware of the very real dangers,” Smith added. “Responding to unsolicited approaches or signing up to things without really understanding them or knowing who you are dealing with, can lead to devastating losses.
“The pandemic has massively increased our reliance on all things digital. While this is great for keeping us connected, there is a dark side which can compromise our safety.
“We know scammers are lurking and employ a whole host of tactics to try and part people with their hard-earned savings. There’s increasing evidence to show that scammers create convincing websites or another online presence, which people can inadvertently fall prey to when searching online.
“This issue isn’t going away. Decisive action needs to be taken to protect people against online scams. We strongly urge the government to include online investment and pension scams and financial harms protection within the government’s Online Safety Bill.”