Pensions - Articles - DWPs pension statement season plans risks becoming new scam

New research from leading online pension provider, PensionBee, finds that 10.6 million pension savers could be at risk of sensitive financial information ending up in the hands of fraudsters should the Pensions Minister’s plans for a ‘statement season’ go ahead.

 Last month the Minister for Pensions and Financial Inclusion publicly announced his intention to legislate for a so-called ‘statement season’, which would see all savers receive their annual pension statement in the post at the same time in order to encourage a ‘national conversation’ in the pub. Industry representatives have criticised the proposal, citing call centre capacity issues, saver frustration and logistical challenges in the printing and posting of millions of statements in a short period of time. The Minister has called his own proposal “controversial”.

 However, with pension scams on the increase, there’s a much bigger concern around mail fraud. In addition to the recent flurry of house move activity, with droves of city dwellers looking to move to rural regions free from the ties of office working, savers historically fail to update their addresses with their old providers. The negative impact of a concentrated burst of postal packs, is that scammers around the country could be poised to collect the many millions of incorrectly delivered pension statements. The results of this could be catastrophic for savers and their hard-earned savings.

 According to PensionBee research, a third of pension savers (33%) believe that it doesn’t matter whether they inform their pension provider(s) of a change of address, as they will still be able to find and contact them. This belief could see a sharp increase in fraud with an estimated £64 billion in pension saving at risk due to out of date contact details.

 Of the respondents surveyed by PensionBee, 40% shared that they had either moved since the pandemic, or were planning to move in the next year. Moving house and changing jobs are the most common reasons that savers lose track of their pension(s) - either forgetting to update their contact details with their provider or losing their providers’ details themselves.

 Romi Savova, CEO of PensionBee, commented: “While the Pensions Minister’s plans are well intentioned, little thought has been given to the grave risks this could pose to savers. Statement season or no statement season, the vast majority of pension providers still rely on post to communicate with their customers so it’s imperative that savers always ensure their contact details are up to date when they move house. Losing track of hard-earned savings can have a significant impact in later life, and could see millions of people working for far longer than they would otherwise need to, before they can afford to comfortably retire.”

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