Pensions - Articles - 1 in 12 pension transfers could be possible scams

Analysis by Xafinity, one of the UK’s leading pension consultancies, has found signs of potential scam activity in 1 in 12 of pension transfer requests. This has reduced marginally from the same analysis done last year (1 in 9 potential scam cases), but remains high, especially given the increased focus on scams.

 The analysis comes from Xafinity’s pension scam identification unit, which helps trustees identify potential pension scams connected with member transfers. The analysis shows that the most common flag for potentially fraudulent transfers, in 33% of scam cases identified, is the involvement of unauthorised advisers or introducers in the transfer process.

 Further results from the analysis show that one in five (20%) of scams identified were as a result of cold calling. However, this is not the only route being used to extract pension money from consumers and although a ban on cold calling will be welcomed by the industry it will only push the unscrupulous scammers to other means. This is where the Government and other industry professionals need to work together to help make consumers safer and stop scamming damaging their retirement and financial security.

 Jackie Warwick, head of Xafinity’s pension scam identification unit, said: “In many cases when we speak to the member it transpires that they have had no contact with the IFA who has signed off the discharge to the trustees. When a member realises that they have effectively been “advised” by someone they have never spoken to they often decide for themselves that something is wrong and therefore choose not to proceed with the transfer.

 “Members often tell us how appreciative they are of the steps being taken by the trustees to protect them and their fellow scheme members from the threat of pension scams.”

 Ben Fisher, Consulting Actuary, continues: “Our scam identification telephone service continues to identify tell-tale signs of scam activity that would be almost impossible to pick-up just from completed paper transfer forms alone. The perpetrators of pension scams will often step-in to complete the paperwork themselves to ensure it doesn’t contain any indication of a scam.

 “Our telephone service, which has been in operation since 2015, can be easily integrated within a scheme’s existing processes regardless of who provides administration, be it in-house or third-party, and provides another layer of defence against scammers.”

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