Pension savers are failing to spot the most prevalent signs of scams, including early access and free advice, PensionBee research finds.
Up to two-thirds felt that offers of free pension advice were either highly unlikely, unlikely, or neither likely nor unlikely to be a pension scam - while early access was not necessarily deemed illegitimate by just under half.
Nevertheless, over half of the survey's 500 respondents identified pension liberation, pension loans, and bonus or discounts to invest before a certain date as likely or very likely to be a scam. Guaranteed high returns also recorded a low rate where respondents felt such an offer was not likely to be a scam.
More positively, around four in five recognised that scammers were most likely to target them via the telephone or emails, with those aged 50 or over noting this more than those aged under 50. However, 17% of those in the former age group recognised scams were often conducted in person.
PensionBee chief executive Romi Savova said: "It is concerning that so many savers are unaware of the common tactics employed by scammers. Any one of us could fall victim to a scam and the coronavirus pandemic has only heightened that risk.
"People should be extra vigilant and refuse to share any sensitive information about their pension, or indeed anything else, with people they do not know. It is clear that the pensions industry must do more to educate savers and take a stand against scammers."
The provider has joined forces with AgeWage, Smart Pension and Nutmeg to launch ‘Scam Man & Robbin', a game designed to raise public awareness of the common signs of scams.
Separately, the Local Pensions Partnership released a seven-point checklist for savers to help them avoid being scammed. The guidance said savers should: reject all unexpected offers; check who they are dealing with; check contact details carefully; not bow to pressure; get impartial information; and, not waste money on pension liberation deals.
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