Cold-calling pension ban takes effect with £500,000 fines for scammers

(qlmbusinessnews.com via news.sky.com– Wed, 9th Dec, 2019) London, Uk – –

About 240m scam calls were made last year, with an average of £91,000 stolen per pension scammer victim, research found.

Cold calling about pensions is now banned, with firms making nuisance calls to face fines of up to half a million pounds.

Companies making unsolicited phones calls about pensions to people from Wednesday can now face enforcement action to try to protect people from having their money stolen.

As many as eight scam calls take place every second – or 240 million calls a year – previous research from the Money Advice Service (MAS) found.

An average of £91,000 was stolen per pension scammer victim last year, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) found.

Pension scams often start with a cold call and can lead to people losing their life savings.

There is a high risk it is a scam if someone is randomly contacted about their pension, with potential warning signs including offers of “free pension reviews”.

Insistent sales tactics, complex investment structures where it is not clear where your money ends up, and promises of too-good-to-be-true returns are also red flags.

Not all cold callers are covered under the ban, with those authorised by the FCA, or a trustee or manager of an occupational or personal pension scheme exempt.

Where the recipient of the call consents to the call, or has an existing relationship with the caller, they are also exempt from the ban.

Guy Opperman, Minister for Pensions and Financial Inclusion, said: “Pension scams are despicable crimes, fleecing people of the retirement they've earned by doing the right thing, working hard and saving for the future.

“Banning pensions cold calling will protect people from these callous crooks and ensure fraudsters feel the full force of the law.”

Lesley Titcomb, chief executive of the Pensions Regulator, added: “The cold calling ban sends a very clear message – if anyone calls you about your pension, it's an attempt to steal your savings.

“The ban draws a line in the sand for scammers. Cross it and you should expect to be prosecuted.”

People looking for pensions help can use the free Government-backed Pension Wise guidance service – www.pensionwise.gov.uk.