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Pension Awareness Week: Scam victims lose £26m in just three years

Paloma Kubiak
Written By:
Paloma Kubiak

Pension scam victims lost £26.4m between 2020 and 2022, an average of £16,500 each.

In the past three years, there were 1,595 reported pension scams in England and Wales, data from the City of London Police’s National Fraud Intelligence Bureau revealed.

The majority of victims reported losses arising from pension liberation fraud – accessing pension early – according to analysis from the Pensions Management Institute (PMI).

However, the number of reports of pension scams has declined since 2020.

In 2020, there were 668 reports, falling to 507 in 2021 and 420 in 2022. But in one year alone (2021), victims lost more than £10m to unscrupulous tricksters.

‘Scale of pension scams is truly horrifying’

Robert Wakefield, PMI president, said: “These statistics show that in spite of the best efforts of those managing our pension schemes, the scourge of scams continues to ruin the lives of so many people.

“The sheer scale of pension scams – in terms of both the number of cases and the amount of money involved – is truly horrifying.”

As part of Pension Awareness Week (11 – 15 September), the PMI is encouraging schemes and members to remain alert to potential scams.

The cost-of-living crisis means more pension scheme members may be interested in accessing their savings early, but it could leave these members vulnerable to scams.

‘Pension scams will never go away: Be alert’

Wakefield added: “Clearly the cost-of-living crisis has made many people desperate for cash to meet short-term requirements and it is sobering to note that so many have been prepared to access pension savings early at the cost of longer-term security.

“Tragically, it is also very clear that in spite of tight regulatory constraints scammers remain able to deceive members in order to steal their accrued pension savings. The clear lesson for us all is that extreme vigilance remains essential. This problem will never go away, but we must redouble our efforts to keep it to a minimum.”