A message from my good friend Angie Brooks
Here at Pension Life, my team and I spend all day every day trying to rescue victims of pension and investment scams. Many of these people have lost most or all of their life savings and a large proportion are also facing crippling tax charges. The stress and worry the victims are enduring is unbearable: many have had nervous breakdowns, heart attacks and strokes; a few have died from stress-related conditions or committed suicide.
All people with a pension are at risk of being scammed and having their lives ruined. The predators who make contact with potential victims lurk on the internet, bombard people with phone calls and text messages, and hang around factory gates. The problem is these people look and sound like normal professionals – and you would never guess they were criminals set on charming people out of their pensions.
Here are a few of them:
What will these criminals promise you?
- A far better pension than your current pension – better returns (profits/growth) and lower fees
- More flexibility and exciting investment opportunities
- Cash back, refund of fees or a loan
None of the above promises are ever true. Read what one victim courageously wrote about his experience of being scammed out of his pension: http://pension-life.com/david-king-a-pension-scam-victim-writes-to-pension-life-on-own-his-experience/
In 2013, well over 1,000 people were scammed out of their pensions and into Capita Oak, Henley and various SIPPS. Between them, these victims lost over £120 million of life savings (all invested in worthless store pods) and many of them also have tax demands. http://pension-life.com/capita-oak-the-ginger-scammer-store-first/
Remember: no honest, respectable, ethical, qualified, regulated financial adviser will ever approach you. Only the scammers will do that. And scammers are criminals. http://pension-life.com/scammers-are-criminals/
Arm yourself – complete the attached questionnaire. Your existing provider will ask you to do the same.
PENSION SCAMS QUESTIONNAIRE:
As a potentially vulnerable pension scheme member, who may well be targeted by a pension scammer, you should answer all the below questions yourself. Your pension provider will also be asking you the very same questions and may not allow you to transfer at all if they think any of the answers indicate you are a victim of a scam.
Were you cold called initially?
Were you contacted by text, email, or approached at the entrance to your workplace?
Were you promised a free pension review?
Were you contacted by someone calling themselves an introducer or adviser?
Were you told your existing pension arrangements were no good?
Were you offered guaranteed returns of – say – 8% to 12% per year?
Were you offered a transfer into an occupational scheme?
Were you offered a transfer into a QROPS?
Were you offered a transfer into a SIPP or a SSAS?
Were you offered an investment in a foreign fund or asset?
Did the introducer or adviser use any of the following terms?
Guaranteed returns or buy-back
Fully qualified or regulated
IF THE ANSWER TO ANY OF THE ABOVE IS YES, YOU HAVE PROBABLY BEEN TARGETED BY A SCAMMER
Make sure you ask all of the following essential ten questions:
- Evidence of the introducer or adviser’s qualifications
- Evidence of the firm’s regulation to provide the advice given
- Evidence of the firm’s professional indemnity insurance
- Evidence of the firm’s trading history, directors and shareholders
- Evidence of the proposed new scheme’s HMRC registration
- Evidence of the proposed new scheme’s Pensions Regulator registration (if an occupational scheme)
- Evidence of the proposed new scheme’s trust deed, trustees and administrator
- Evidence of the trading and employment history of the sponsoring employer (occupational scheme)
- Evidence of an independent audit for any proposed investment funds or assets
- Evidence that nothing negative or sinister comes up on Google searches on any of the above
REMEMBER, THE SCAMMERS CAN BE VERY PLAUSIBLE, CHARMING, PERSUASIVE. THEY STAND TO EARN HUGE COMMISSIONS OUT OF DESTROYING YOUR PENSION SO THEY ARE VERY GOOD ACTORS AND WILL PROMISE YOU THE EARTH. THEY WILL WEAR SMART SUITS, HAVE IMPRESSIVE LEATHER-BOUND PORTFOLIOS AND WILL SOUND VERY PROFESSIONAL AND CONVINCING. DO NOT BE FOOLED!