George Emsden - Guidance with a difference for people with cancer

Fancy a free Pension review?

A Free Pension Review Sir?

Such is the typical lure of pension scammers (thieves) which have emerged like a plague – especially since the availability of easier access to pensions since 6th April 2015. Thriving on pension complexity, non-stop pension interference from successive governments, this has resulted in: indifference, bafflement, fear and loathing where pensions are concerned, so pension scammers are having a field day.

If you are not aware of the new rules, or have been away for a long time, Pension Wise is a pretty good place to start.

A typical approach will be a cold call, email, text or even a knock on your door. On some phone calls, they even have details of your policies making you wonder “where did they get this information”? To many people, a free pension review is attractive. Since commissions were banned in 2013, the cost of advice is now “up front” rather than hidden – a classic case, if ever there was one of the law of unintended effect. As an accountant said, who happened to be my best introducer when I was an IFA,”People hate getting out their cheque books!”

You don’t even have to pay Postage

If you want a free review, a signature is required and a courier will be round within 24 hours to get this and take copies of your Money Laundering/ID documents which will be scanned at your home – they don’t hang about.

Pension scammers seem to have replaced pension liberation which started about 4 years ago. Here you were promised access to your pensions even if you were younger than the 55 minimum age, via some obscure offshore arrangement. Once the regulator became aware of pension liberation, the pension providers were told that they were in the loop so could not wash their hands of this saying that they were “merely doing what their customer wanted”. Now pension providers will write to you if you are thinking of transferring and The Pensions Advisory Service (TPAS) gets a lot of calls where pension beneficiaries are having second thoughts or the “adviser” is calling round that afternoon, to get their signature.

One Born every Minute

Doctors, lawyers and other professionals have been taken in. Scammers always say they are regulated (usually they are not) or that they don’t need to be. Any so-called adviser can easily be checked at the Financial Services Register but if you do deal with anyone not on that list, don’t expect any compensation from the Financial Services Compensation Scheme or help from Financial Ombudsman Service

The aim of the exercise is to get your money into a bank account which may actually be invested in a high risk/unregulated scheme where property investment in the Cape Verde Islands crops up regularly (can you point them out on a map?) with other examples being investing in car parking spaces in Dubai or forestry on the other side of the planet. More likely, the money will be paid into a special bank account which you can check – but when one “investor” checked with the bank a week later, the money was gone.

If you suspect a Pension Fraud, call TPAS (See above) or Action Fraud &/or check Unauthorised firms and Individuals to avoid




George Emsden
Now retired from being a financial adviser, George is busier than ever: running CancerIFA for the terminally-ill, writing (not just this blog), dancing (ceroc & salsa), volunteering at Muswell Hill Soup Kitchen, plus being a very proud granddad.

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