Two in five (37%) of adults in the UK believe they have been targeted by a scam or fraud since lockdown started on 23 March, according to new research of 2,000 people by AJ Bell.
The figure rises to almost half (45%) for those aged 55-64, showing scammers are targeting those who have recently gained access to their pension savings. AJ Bell sets out five ways the Government and regulators can take the fight to pension scammers.
Recommendations come in response to Work & Pensions Committee’s wide-ranging inquiry into the pension freedoms reforms.
Tackling online fraud, improved monitoring and reporting of scam activity, and giving schemes power to block suspect transfers all key to protecting retirement savers.
Tom Selby, senior analyst at AJ Bell, comments: “The financial uncertainty created by the COVID-19 crisis is like blood in the water for scammers, with a huge proportion of the UK population believing that they have been targeted during lockdown.
“Over a fifth of people have already been made financially worse off during COVID-19 and as the Government prepares to end the furlough scheme, millions more people will face the prospect of unemployment, losing their main source of income and staring down the barrel of serious financial hardship. Such turmoil will inevitably see more people targeted by scammers, with their hard-earned retirement pots likely to be a prime focus.
“In this environment it is absolutely vital policymakers, enforcement agencies and the wider pensions industry redouble efforts to tackle the scourge of fraud.
“While clearly the priority for Government is dealing with the second spike of the pandemic, it is also important to ensure a protective ring is placed around vulnerable savers.”