Pensions scams are devastating. Research shows up to 5 million savers are in danger of falling for common scam tactics.

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Recent analysis reveals that it could take 22 years for a saver to build a pension pot of £82,000 – the average amount victims lost to scams in 2018. But despite this, many savers could be at risk of falling for scammers tactics within 24 hours. New research reveals that almost 1 in 4 people (24%) surveyed, admitted to taking 24 hours or less to decide on a pension offer.

Worryingly, overconfidence could also lead to savers missing the signs of a scam. Despite nearly two thirds (63%) saying they are confident to make a decision about their pension, the same proportion (63%) would trust someone offering pensions advice out of the blue – one of the main warning signs of a scam.

Further still, the more highly educated the person, the more likely they are to fall for a pension scam. Those with a university degree are 40% more likely to accept a free pension review from a company they’ve not dealt with before, and 21% more likely to take up the offer of early access to their pension pot. Both common scam tactics.

Pension fraud can be devastating. Victims can be left facing retirement with limited income, and little or no opportunity to build their years of savings back up. As a result, the regulators are warning savers to get to know the warning signs of a scam, be ScamSmart and always check who they are dealing with before making a decision on their pensions.

Pension savers can test how ScamSmart they are by taking a quiz on the ScamSmart site. Visit www.fca.org.uk/scamsmart to find out more.

There are four simple steps you can take to protect yourself from pension scams:

1. Reject unexpected pension offers whether online, on social media or over the phone.

2. Check who you’re dealing with before changing your pension arrangements – check the FCA Register or call the FCA helpline on 0800 111 6768 to see if the firm you are dealing with is authorised by the FCA.

3. Don’t be rushed or pressured into making any decision about your pension.

4. Consider getting impartial information and advice.

The Pensions Advisory Service provides free independent and impartial information and guidance. If people aged 50 or over require free independent advice, they can contact the government-backed Pension Wise service. To book a free appointment, visit www.pensionwise.gov.uk/en.

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