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Pension scams on the rise with Covid-19: how to protect yourself

11 June 2020

While pension scams are not a new topic, and The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and The Pensions Regulator (TPR) have joined forces to try and tackle this problem for a number of years, fraudsters have been exploiting the current adverse situation caused by Coronavirus to escalate their activities.

A report from April this year revealed more than 500 Coronavirus-related scams by criminals seeking to exploit fears over the pandemic, many of which relate to pensions and investment, especially among vulnerable and elderly people who are self-isolating.

Amid the current situation, it is more important than ever before to raise your vigilance and take necessary actions to protect yourself against pension scammers.

Potential signs of a pension scam

Fraudsters nowadays use a wide range of techniques to approach and attract their victims. If you are contacted out of the blue, whether by email, social media or telephone (also note that pension cold-calling has been banned), always make sure to stay alert for the following signs:

  • Claims of guaranteed high returns, or higher returns than your current savings
  • Promises about early access to your pension pot
  • Free pension reviews
  • Pressure to act quickly
  • Requests for personal or financial information such as PINs or login details

Developing a well-prepared mindset for frauds:

As fraudsters are getting more and more articulate and savvy, scams have become more sophisticated, and in some cases not easy to spot. It is therefore important that you develop a vigilant mindset:

  • Never give out your personal or financial details to any party before double-checking their credentials
  • Before you make any investment decision, carefully check the legitimacy of the company you intend to work with
  • Beware of phishing emails and telephone calls in general, and avoid clicking on links or opening attachments sent by strangers
  • Even if an email/phone call is from a company/organisation known to you, make sure they are genuine, because displayed emails and telephone numbers can be faked
  • When making online payments, make sure the site is secure, and carefully read all the fine print and warnings before proceeding
  • When you contact your insurer or pension provider, always use the contact details on your documents provided by them
  • Remember that if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is
  • Finally, if you think you might have been a victim of pension scams, report it to the relevant authority (more info below)
pension scams

What to do when you think you have been a victim of pension scams

If you think you have fallen victim to a fraudster, you can report it to the following organisations:

  • The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA): call their Consumer Helpline on 0800 111 6768 or use the reporting form at
  • Action Fraud: call them on 0300 123 2040 or report at their website

It is also good practice to consult your IFA if you are considering making an investment. At DTE, our advisers in the Financial Planning team are here to support if you have any questions. You can get in touch with your usual contact at DTE, or email us at and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

Other useful links for further reference:

ScamSmart: a campaign set up by the FCA to provide information on how to avoid investment and pension scams. You can also check investment or pension opportunities that you have been offered and avoid scams:

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