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FCA warning to football fans after £30m lost to scammers

Emma Lunn
Written By:
Emma Lunn

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has teamed up with legendary football commentator Clive Tyldesley to warn football fans not to fall victim to pension scammers.

A total of £30,857,329 has been lost to pension scammers since 2017, according to complaints filed with Action Fraud.

Scammers targeted pension pots big and small, with reported losses ranging from under £1,000 to as much as £500,000. The typical victim was a man in his 50s.

But the true number of victims is likely to be much higher as savers fail to spot the signs of a scam and don’t know how much is in their pots, according to the FCA and The Pensions Regulator.

Football fans at risk

New research shows that’s particularly true for football fans approaching retirement, with just 43% knowing how much is in their pot and nearly half (45%) not knowing how to check if an approach about their pension is legitimate.

Scammers design attractive offers to persuade you to transfer your pension pot to them, often setting ‘time-limited offers’ or deadlines to pressure you into releasing your money.

Football commentator Clive Tyldesley said: “Scammers are very good at breaking down your defences and putting you under pressure with various deadlines. But your pension isn’t a football transfer – there are no deadlines.

“Your favourite team wouldn’t buy a new striker just because his agent says he’s good. They’d ask around, check out his stats, do some research – just like you should when handling your pension plans. Before you fall foul to savvy scammers, remember to take your time, seek advice, and speak to an FCA authorised adviser. Don’t agree to anything you’re unsure of.”

Pension pot values

Football fans are also risking an own goal by not knowing the value of their pension. Three quarters (76%) know the cost of items related to their team, such as a football shirt or season ticket, but only 43% knew how much was currently in their pension pot.

Mark Steward, FCA executive director of enforcement and market oversight, said: “During these uncertain times, it is more important than ever to defend your lifetime savings from scammers. Fraudsters will seek out every opportunity to exploit innocent people, no matter how much or how little you have saved. You can check the status of a firm before changing your pension by visiting the FCA register, and get advice from an FCA authorised firm before making any changes to your pension.”