Pension scams

A pension scam may seem like a great deal with a genuine company.

We explain how fraudsters create these scams so you can avoid them.


Warning signs of a pension scam

A guarantee of higher returns

Genuine companies never offer higher than normal interest rates or promise to increase your money.

Access to your pension before 55 years old

Fraudsters may tell you that they can release cash early from your pension.

An unusual, complicated or long-term investment

If a pension deal is difficult to understand, it can give a fraudster more influence over the decisions you make.

Higher than normal fees

A pension scam can involve several people or companies who all charge a fee.

The methods behind a pension scam

Fraudsters pretend to be genuine companies

Before you trust any company or adviser with your pension, make sure they’re genuine.

Fraudsters set up fake companies or hide behind the name of a genuine company or adviser.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) website has a register where you can check if a company or adviser is real.

They also have a scam warning list to help you avoid fake deals.

Fraudsters create fake websites

A fake company often has its own fake website full of information about pensions.

Fraudsters will also create false reviews to help them convince you it’s all real.

If you use contact details from a fake website, you may end up talking with a fraudster.

To get a genuine website address or phone number, always use the FCA website.

You can also use Get Safe Online to check a website address is genuine.

Is an offer too good to be true?

Fraudsters try to scam you by offering pension deals that you won’t find elsewhere.

Typical examples are promising high interest rates or guaranteed returns on your investment.

Always make sure that a deal is genuine before you invest. Use the FCA’s ScamSmart to check a pension deal.

Did they contact you out of the blue?

Never trust a cold call about your pension, as it might be a scam. Just hang up the phone, then report it to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

If you get an unexpected email or text with a pension offer, delete it.

Be careful with online adverts, as these are easy for fraudsters to create.

Before you make any decision, always get a second opinion, even if a recommendation has come from somebody you trust.

Do they put you under pressure?

Be suspicious of any pension deal that has a short deadline or offers a return on your money that you can’t find elsewhere.

These are methods fraudsters use to stop you from checking if a deal is genuine or not.

Always research a deal carefully.

Never trust anyone who tries to force you into a quick decision.

Have you done any research or got advice?

If a company contacts you about a free pension review or to offer free advice, it’s a sign of a scam.

Normally, you have to pay for professional financial advice.

Contact the FCA to make sure a financial adviser is genuine.

Take your time to research anything to do with your pension.

Your money is only protected by the Financial Ombudsman Service or Financial Services Compensation Scheme if you use a firm that’s approved by the FCA.

You can be scammed more than once

Fraudsters can target you again, especially if they’ve scammed you already. Or they might sell your details so other fraudsters can contact you.

Usually, a second scam will be different, fraudsters may even use an earlier scam as the reason for getting in touch. Never trust anyone who offers to get your money back from a scam or a fake investment.

Further help and how to report a pension scam

Learn about other scams and how to protect yourself

Learn about the latest scams

Fraudsters are always looking for new ways to try to steal your details and money. Discover which scams are common right now.

Go to latest scams

Have you been targeted by fraudsters?

Contact us right away if you think you've been scammed. We can then guide you on what to do next.

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Stay scam safe

Discover how to spot and avoid scams, and how to report fraud.

Protect yourself from fraud

Stay scam safe

Discover how to spot and avoid scams, and how to report fraud.

Protect yourself from fraud