Check out the latest Scam Alert!

Check out the latest Scam Alert!

by Danielle Thompson (August 2020)

Well, Monday evening’s lightning show really entertained our kittens, Buddy and Holly, adopted from Southport & Ormskirk RSPCA , and they sat transfixed on the bedroom window sill..

But, despite the weather, here is some more scams information for our readers and residents of Sefton. This week, I want to draw your attention to investment scamming, and in particular pension targeting.

Scammers are targeting consumers searching for investments online, in particular they are offering/promoting investment opportunities found through search engines, not necessarily authorised or regulated by the FCA. Today I need to highlight how pension scams are worked. Scammers usually contact people out of the blue via phone, email or text, or may even advertise online. Or they may be introduced to you by a friend or family member who is also unknowingly being scammed. They will make false claims to gain your trust, such as claiming that they are authorised by the FCA, or that they don’t need to be FCA -authorised because they themselves are not providing the advice. They may also claim to be acting on behalf of the FCA or the government service Pension Wise scheme.

Scammers design attractive offers to persuade you to transfer your pension pot to them (or to release funds from it). It is then often invested in unusual and high-risk investments, such as overseas property, renewable energy bonds, forestry, storage units, or invested in more conventional products, but within an unnecessarily complex structure which hides multiple fees and high charges. Sometimes the money is just stolen outright.

The warning signs

Scam offers often include:

free pension reviews

higher returns – guarantees that they can get you better returns on your pension savings

help to release cash from your pension even though you’re under 55 (an offer to release funds before age 55 is highly likely to be a scam)

high-pressure sales tactics – the scammers may try to pressure you with ‘time-limited offers’, or even send a courier to your door to wait while you sign documents

unusual investments – which tend to be unregulated and high-risk and may be difficult to sell if you need access to your money

complicated structures where it isn’t clear where your money will end up

arrangements where there are several parties involved (some of which may be based overseas), all taking a fee, which means the total amount deducted from your pension is significant

long-term pension investments – which mean it could be several years before you realise something is wrong

Here are 2 simple steps to protect yourself from pension scams

Step 1 – Reject unexpected offers

Step 2 – Check who you're dealing with by Checking the Financial Services Register to make sure that anyone offering you advice, or other financial services, is FCA authorised and that they are permitted to provide you with those services.

Finally, if you or someone you know is struggling to pay bills or outstanding debts, Citizens Advice may be able to help. Citizens Advice Sefton telephone service is available:

Help To Claim advice line number for help claiming Universal credit is 0800 144 8444. 8am to 6pm. Mon to Fri.

For general advice 0344 493 0012. 9.30 to 4.30 Mon to Fri

The debt number is 0151 318 6407. 9.30 to 4.30 Mon to Fri. Our local website address is- www.https://seftoncab.org.uk/

Citizens Advice Lancashire telephone is available between 9 - 5 M to F.& 9.00am and 1.00pm Saturdays on Adviceline 0344 245 1 294 and Help to Claim line

0800 144 8 444. Their website address is – www.citizensadvicelancashire.org.uk

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