11th April 2014
Potential fraudsters are cold calling pension scheme members posing as official Government-backed pension reviewers following the Budget, the UK’s leading pension information service has warned.
The Pensions Advisory Service, a not-for-profit organisation set up to help people navigate their pension decisions, has put a warning up on its website home page – saying it has had inquiries from worried consumers about the approaches.
The message reads: “With the increased interest in pensions following the Budget announcements last week we have had a number of people contact us to report that they have received cold calls saying they have received their details from the government and that they are government backed to undertake pension reviews. This is not a legitimate claim. Whilst the government has made a commitment to introduce a face to face service for people at retirement, this has not yet been developed. If you receive a cold call offering this type of service we would strongly advise caution. Your pensions are valuable assets and it is recommended that you check the organisation before releasing information.”
The Government is currently consulting on how it can work with the pension industry and employers to provide pensions guidance to people who are due to retire and has even allocated £20m to pay for it. But, as TPAS says in its statement, the plans are still on the drawing board. The Budget has given much more freedom to pensioners to access their cash in several ways though some of these are temporary measures before more wide-sweeping reforms.
TPAS chief executive Michelle Cracknell recently suggested TPAS could be a key provider of such guidance while suggesting that it did not have to be face to face to be effective, as she told trade website Money Marketing.
Plan Money IFA and Mindful Money contributor Peter Chadborn says: “Whatever type of service you might be interested in, whether financial planning and pensions advice, or indeed any other similar service, always seek a recommendation. Never go with a cold caller.”