Pensions cold calling ban - keeping aware of pension scams
The pensions cold-calling ban came into force on 9th January 2019 after a lengthy government consultation process. This means it is now illegal to make unsolicited calls or send unsolicited texts relating to pensions products and services, with fines of up to £500,000 for those that break the law.
Government statistics have shown that the average victim of a pension cold calling scam lost on average £91,000 (based on 2017 figures). Money Advice Service suggests that there could be as many as 8 scam calls every second – the equivalent of 250 million calls per year, therefore employers and members need to be vigilant to ensure they do not become victims of this type of scam.
The ban prohibits cold calling in relation to pensions, except where:
- the caller is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority, or is the trustee or manager of an occupational or personal pension scheme, and;
- the recipient of the call consents to calls from the caller or has an existing client relationship with the caller such as might give rise to an expectation of receiving cold calls from that caller.
The Pensions Regulator (TPR) and Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) recently ran a campaign called ‘ScamSmart’ to help raise awareness of pension scams, with key messages for pension scheme members:
- reject unexpected offers that come out of the blue
- check who you’re dealing with by making sure the company is FCA authorised: https://register.fca.org.uk/
- seek advice before altering your pension arrangements
- recipients of nuisance calls are advised to note down details of the caller and contact the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) on 0303 123 1113or file a report at the Information Commissioner’s Office using their online form: https://ico.org.uk/make-a-complaint/nuisance-calls-and-messages
These measures are hoped to deter criminals from making these types of calls in future, but it is still important to be aware of the risks and remain vigilant to these types of scams.
As a Citrus pension scheme member you can sign up to our PensionsWEB online service and use our member portal to access the latest news and updates on pensions, with the safe knowledge that this information is from a trustworthy source.
For further information please contact [email protected]