Don't get scammed

Make sure you’re keeping your pension safe from scams. You may think your pension is safe, or you won’t fall for a scam, but fraudsters are increasingly targeting the pension funds of UK savers.

The impact of losing some or all of your pension savings could mean that you’re unable to achieve the retirement you deserve. Often, there isn’t the time to recoup your losses and this could mean that you have to change your plans, work for longer or face financial difficulty later in life.

Taking the time to learn about how pensions work and understanding how to recognise pension scams could help you shield your retirement plans from those who would ruin them for you.

How to spot a scam

It can sometimes be difficult to spot a scam - they come in lots of different formats: unsolicited phone calls, emails and letters, as well as cold callers to your home. When it comes to pensions, you need to be careful of:

  • Pension liberation scams, that offer you access to your pension before the age of 55.
  • Investment scams, that offer guaranteed or unrealistic returns on investments or tempt you with high risk or unregulated investments.
  • Pension review scams, where you’re contacted out of the blue and offered a free review of your pension savings and investment returns.
  • Advice scams, that offer free advice with the aim of finding out personal information.

What to look out for

So, what can you do to protect your pension?

Cold calling about pensions is banned. This includes text messages and emails. A genuine financial adviser will not contact you first.
Phrases to watch out for: “free pension review” or “pension liberation” (the concept that you could access your pension sooner than age 55).
If you’ve approached an adviser directly you should still check their credentials. You can use the FCA register to check that they’re regulated.
You can also check that an adviser definitely works for the company they say they're a part of by calling the details on the register to make sure that the adviser is definitely an employee of that firm.
Take time to understand your pension options and pension rules. Pensions are usually not accessible until you’re 55 (57 from 2028) but a common scam is fraudsters claiming they can help you access it earlier.
Heavy tax charges can apply if you claim your pension earlier than the normal retirement age so make sure you understand the options available at retirement and familiarise yourself with the rules that HMRC set out.
Pensions are a form of investment, and all investments come with an element of risk. If you’re being offered guaranteed, healthy returns then alarm bells should start ringing.
Do your research and understand the different risks associated with any investment claims.
Don’t feel rushed or pressured into making a decision. Read and digest all the information you’re given and take the time to speak to a regulated financial adviser.

Watch our Pension Scams animation

Download the Pension Scams checklist

What we’re doing to combat pension scams

We're committed to protecting our customers and stamping out pension scams full stop. Our administrators, Capita, have self-certified that they're meeting the requirements of the pledge. This means that we're providing our members with the information and tools they need to identify and report scams, as well as implementing the the checks and other requirements needed to ensure we’re doing everything we can to protect members' savings. You can find out more about the pledge at