A new ban on pension cold calls
January of this year saw pension cold-calling becoming illegal and in a bid to tackle pension scams. Companies won't be able to make unsolicited calls to people about their pensions. The ban also covers unsolicited texts and emails and those that break the rules could be facing enforcement action directly from the Information Commissioner's Office. Fines that are issued could be as high as £500,000.
This is, for the most part, a response to the exceptionally high rate of scamming that has been present across the board. As many as eight scam calls are made every second - the equivalent of 250 million calls per year, according to research by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
The economic secretary to the Treasury, John Glen, had this to say about the new development: “Pension scammers are the lowest of the low. They rob savers of their hard-earned retirement and devastate lives. We know that cold-calling is the pension scammers’ main tactic, which is why we’ve made them illegal.”
The ban may be in effect but the authorities still urge savers to remain vigilant. Scammers tend to be relentless creatures who will either find new and innovative ways to reach into the hard-earned pensions of unsuspecting victims or continue duping uninformed people. Prohibiting cold-calling is only part of the solution and scam activity may not be completely eradicated just because of this new law.
In order to protect your savings, you will have to take proactive steps to help ensure that scammers don't get away with tricking you or your loved ones. If you think you have been scammed, it's important to act as fast as possible. Contact your pension provider straight away as your pension provider may be able to stop a transfer that hasn't taken place yet.
It's also important that you hang up on cold calls. Unsolicited contact, whether it be phone calls, texts or emails are now all illegal, which means that there's no reason any legitimate party will be contacting you through these mediums. Scammers often claim they're from a government-backed body but these are organisations that would never call you to offer a pension review so it's probably best that you just hang up.
Stay away from things that look or sound too good to be true. Unregulated investments offering 'guaranteed returns' or other false promises can be tempting but they are seldom authentic offers.
Exotic sounding investments like hotels, vineyards or other overseas ventures are also typically scams.
Another recurring trait that scammers may possess is their ability to pressure and rush their victims into making decisions instantly. Don't be pushed around by these thugs. Their tricks include 'time-limited offers' or tactics like sending couriers to your door while they wait for you to sign documents. Never opt for anything straight away.
Scams via cold calling and other methods may be more common than you think so do take note of this new ban on pension cold calls and remember that from here on if someone is calling about pensions, it’s probably best that you just hang up.