Regulators target football fans in campaign to stop pension scams


Pension scams have cost savers more than £30m since 2017 according to a campaign by regulators targeting middle-aged football fans who are among the typical victims.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and The Pensions Regulator (TPR) said losses range from under £1,000 to as much as £500,000.

They said a total of just under £30.9m had been lost in the last three years, according to complaints filed with Action Fraud, with the average victim a man in his 50s.

File photo dated 14-06-2015 of ITV commentator Clive Tyldesley.
The campaign is fronted by football commentator Clive Tyldesley

The true figure is likely to be higher as some savers fail to spot the signs of a scam or do not know how much is in their pension pot, the regulators said.

They have hired football commentator Clive Tyldesley to help raise awareness among potential victims as part of the ScamSmart campaign.

A survey found fans were nearly twice as likely to know the cost of items such as a football shirt or season ticket as the current value of their pension pot.

Mr Tyldesley said: “Before you fall foul to savvy scammers, remember to take your time, seek advice, and speak to an FCA authorised adviser.

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“Don’t agree to anything you’re unsure of.”

MPs last month launched an inquiry into such scams following a relaxation of rules five years ago which allowed people easier access to their pension pots.

HANOVER, GERMANY - JUNE 12: The Instagram logo is displayed at the 2018 CeBIT technology trade fair on June 12, 2018 in Hanover, Germany. The 2018 CeBIT is running from June 11-15. (Photo by Alexander Koerner/Getty Images)

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Those drawing down their savings can become a target for fraudsters and the problem is likely to get worse as a result of the financial hardship caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the MPs said.

The ScamSmart campaign warned that scammers were creating attractive offers designed to persuade savers to transfer money to them – often setting time-limited deals or deadlines pressurising them to release the funds.

Mark Steward, the FCA’s executive director of enforcement and market oversight, said: “During these uncertain times, it is more important than ever to defend your lifetime savings from scammers.

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“Fraudsters will seek out every opportunity to exploit innocent people, no matter how much or how little you have saved.”

Mr Tydeseley is the latest famous name to be used by the FCA in an awareness campaign.

The City watchdog previously used an animatronic head of Hollywood action star Arnold Schwarzenegger in ads urging consumers mis-sold payment protection insurance to make compensation claims.

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