Nottinghamshire Police have warned the community to be wary of fraudsters in a new campaign highlighting the dangers of pension fraud.
Fraudsters continue to target victim’s pensions across the county and officers have asked the community to be vigilant of these types of scams.
Figures from the national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime reveal £1.8 million has already been lost to pension fraud this year.
Data from Action Fraud shows a steady fall in pension scam reports from 1,788 in 2014 to 358 in 2020 – a reduction of almost 80 per cent.
However, there has been an increase in reporting so far this year, with 107 reports of pension fraud received in the first three months of 2021. This is an increase of almost 45 percent when compared to the same period in 2020.
Pension fraud isn’t something new in Nottinghamshire. In recent years, a number of reports have been triaged from Action Fraud to the force to help support vulnerable victims.
In December 2019, a man in his 80s from the Mansfield area invested an amount of their pension with a company that ceased communicating with him. He ended up losing close to £5,000 of his savings.
Meanwhile, one man in his 60s from The Meadows was duped into investing into a dodgy pension fund that was fraudulent. He was convinced to transfer his entire pension pot to a company in July 2020 who took an administration fee, but failed to deliver the income they promised.
A retired man in his 70s from Mansfield was scammed into trading online more than £27,000 from his savings to a Bitcoin company. The victim researched the cryptocurrency online and decided to deposit some money into the business. He was talked through the stock markets and continued to invest, despite losing his initial money.
His debt spiralled out of control, before the company ceased communication and he lost contact in February 2021 before reporting the scam.
The force is supporting the Action Fraud campaign to ‘Protect your pension’ to help spread awareness of the scams.
Nottinghamshire Police’s Fraud & Cyber Protect Officer Laura Murdock said: “As you can see from our recent examples, pension scams are devastating for the victims and their families. These aren’t just isolated incidents, frauds like these where they target the elderly or vulnerable are horrible. Especially when you meet the victims in person and you can see how losing life-changing sums affects people.
“Savers must be cautious about making decisions about money that may have taken a lifetime to build, as it can be snatched away in an instant.
“Learning the signs of a scam can help prevent savers becoming a victim in the first place. Before making decisions about their pension savers should visit The Pensions Advisory Service website for impartial guidance or get financial advice from a Financial Conduct Authority authorised financial adviser.
“If you’re contacted out of the blue about your pension, stop and think.
Perhaps you’ve been pressured into making a quick decision involving your pension? Or have you received cold calls about your pension?
“Our advice would be to immediately hand up or if you receive any emails, texts or social media messages regarding fraud to simply ignore them.
“You should always consider seeking professional financial advice before changing your pension arrangements. If you are changing your pension plan, please don’t feel rushed or pressured into making a decision. Take time to do your research and get professional advice, by doing so this could protect you and your money.”
“If you suspect a scam, report it. If you think you’ve been a victim of pension fraud, contact your pension provider immediately and report it to Action Fraud online at https://crowd.in/5gjFYF or by calling 0300 123 2040.
“People who have lost money through a scam should call Nottinghamshire Police on 101 so officers can preserve evidence as quickly as possible.”