The UK government has confirmed plans to ban pensions cold calling, including emails and text messages to protect private pension savers from the threat of unscrupulous pension scammers.
The measures include: tightening the HM Revenue & Customs rules to stop scammers opening fraudulent pension schemes and take strict actions to help prevent the transfer of money from occupational pension schemes into fraudulent ones.
The cold calling ban will be enforced by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).
Additionally, the government is also planning to ensure that only active companies producing regular up-to-date accounts can register pension schemes.
The announcement comes as new figures show approximately £5m was obtained by pension scammers in the first five months of 2017.
Since April 2014, it is estimated that £43m has also been illegally obtained by scammers, as the fraudsters try to encourage savers to part with their money with false promises of low-risk, high-return investment opportunities.
Minister for Pensions and Financial Inclusion Guy Opperman said: “Today’s figures highlight the extent to which people’s savings are being targeted and stolen through elaborate hoaxes – leaving them with little opportunity to build up their savings again. That is why we are introducing tough new measures for those who scam.
“If people have saved for a private pension, we want to protect them. This is the biggest lifesaving that individuals normally make over many years of hard work. By tackling these scammers, people should know that cold calling, apart from exceptional circumstances, is banned.
Economic Secretary to the Treasury Stephen Barclay said: “It’s utterly unacceptable that people who have worked all their lives to build up a pension pot should be subject to scams which may leave them out of pocket.
“Pensions are often the most valuable asset a person has upon reaching retirement – and that’s why we are determined to crack down on scammers and protect our hardworking savers.”
Cold calling is the most common method of initiating pension fraud, as 97% of cases brought to Citizens Advice in 2013 stemmed from cold calls.