Two million 55-64 year olds targeted with unsolicited pension review calls

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Pensions advice and review scams are now the leading form of unsolicited contact for people approaching retirement with up to two million receiving unsolicited calls in the past year alone according to Citizens Advice.

A report titled “Too Good to be True” produced by Citizens Advice also revealed those between 55 and 64 are also being increasingly targeted with so called pension liberation scams, with one in three Citizens Advice staff members saying they have seen an increase.

The report also stated that when it came to picking out a scam through advertising. When asked to pick a pension from three different offers, 88% of people chose scam offers. Worryingly for the charity, of the 76% who said they were confident of avoiding scams, just 13% went on to chose the legitimate offer.

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Rebecca Jeffrey, Policy Researcher at Citizens Advice said: “Scams are not just a niche issue. Almost as many Citizens Advice staff and volunteers have seen consumers with unsolicited pension contact as PPI contact in the past year. PPI contact resulted in the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) handing out its largest fine in history to a company that made 46 million automated nuisance calls. Without tackling this area of pension scams now, we risk escalation to these levels.

“We already estimate that 10.9 million people have received unsolicited contact about a pension since last April. This includes 3.8 million consumers who are over the age of 55 and therefore potentially eligible to use pension freedoms. Contact out of the blue can be from pension scammers or from lead generators working for legitimate businesses. This creates confusion which can both reduce consumer confidence in advice and make it harder to spot a scam.

“You may be thinking ‘this is a problem, but I wouldn’t fall for it’, and you wouldn’t be alone. Our research has revealed that over three quarters (76%) of consumers are confident they would spot a pension scam. We wanted to put this to the test so we asked over 2,000 people to pick the pension offer they would choose from three different options.

“Almost 9 in 10 (88%) picked an offer containing pension scam warning signs rather than the legitimate one. Most worryingly, of those who said they were confident at spotting a scam, 87% selected one of the scam offers.”

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