How do I look out for scams?

Josefine Jonsson
Pension Adviser



  • They might try and cold call you
  • Too good to be true promises
  • Lying about being regulated

Since April 2015, the government’s pension reforms have given the over-55s the freedom to cash in their company and personal pensions. Thousands of people now have more freedom over what to do with their pension pot. With millions of pounds now accessible that previously weren’t, scammers will circle like vultures and try to take advantage.

But fear not, we are here to help you stay one step ahead of any potential scammer with a guide to the tell-tale signs of a pension scam.

They might try and cold call you

Many of these companies operate by cold-calling – and, when challenged, will typically be unable to demonstrate that they have a previous relationship with you. That’s why the government has banned cold-calling, and made unsolicited texts and emails illegal.

If someone calls you, always ask to call them back. Reputable companies will always be happy to let you do this, whereas scammers tend to be more reluctant to give contact details.

Too good to be true promises

Many pension scammers will try to entice you with promises of low-risk investments that offer mouth-watering returns. Before they go any further, you should hang up.

Scammers may attempt to sell you a too-good-to-be-true, ‘one-off’ investment, usually via an unsolicited phone call, text message or email, or even in person after calling at your door.

Some scammers also advise you to ‘liberate’ your pension into one of these too-good-to-be-true schemes before you turn 55, which isn’t permitted under the new rules.

The Pensions Regulator has just launched a new online campaign on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, reminding people to keep their wits about them and offering advice on how to stay safe.

Lying about being regulated

Many pension scammers will claim to be FCA regulated when they’re not, it is therefore essential to go to the FCA’s website and check that the company is regulated, and that the adviser you’re speaking to is also regulated to give you pension advice. One important tip is to never use a link that a company sends to you in order to check if they’re regulated. It may take you to a fake website that’s not the FCA’s real one. Instead go directly to yourself.

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