24th July 2015
Pensions scams have risen since the introduction of new freedoms that make it easier for retirees to get their hands on their pension cash.
Pension advisers Portal Financial has reported 11 scam pension companies to Google this year and said the freedoms have encouraged more scammers to try their luck.
Under the pension freedoms those aged 55 and over can access their pension as cash but some companies are offering those under the age of 55 access to their money. The companies offering these activities often appear in Google’s search results, including paid advertisements that increase the likelihood of the public seeing the advert.
Jamie Smith-Thompson, managing director at Portal Financial, said: ‘People need to be diligent in checking that firms are regulated. This year alone we have reported 11 companies to Google in the hope that their adverts are removed, and we have done this in the past as well.
‘Firms offering scams often sound very convincing and some even have customer reviews, but it’s important to look closely –they usually say they are not Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) regulated. If they do not display an FCA number then they are not regulated.’
If a consumer finds an unregulated website offering financial advice, they should report them to Action Fraud.
‘Unregulated firms cannot be reported on the FCA website, so many people often do not know what to do,’ said Smith-Thompson. ‘To help people report companies they believe to be running a scam, we have contacted Action Fraud, who have confirmed that people can report scams to them. Although scams are nothing new, the concern is retirees are an obvious target because they have easier access to their pensions than ever before.’