Complaints filed with ActionFraud show a total of £30.8m has been lost to pension scammers in the last three years, say The Pensions Regulator (TPR) and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
The regulators have teamed up with football commentator Clive Tyldesley to raise awareness after finding more people know about football finances than their own life savings.
This latest football-themed ScamSmart encourages savers to ‘give scammers the boot' and stop themselves scoring a ‘pensions own goal' by reassessing their ability to recognise a scam.
TPR chief executive Charles Counsell said: "Scammers wreck lives and no matter how big or small your savings are, every pot is a target."
The regulators say scammers have targeted all sizes of pot; losses ranged from under £1,000 to as much as £500,000 in the time period.
Counsell continued: "It may seem tempting to make a change to your pension fund now, but it's important not to rush."
Four simple steps have been recommended for savers to protect themselves from scams, which include not feeling rushed into fast decisions. The regulators also recommend savers reject unexpected pension offers made online, on social media, and over the phone.
Savers should also consult the FCA's register of firms, and consider impartial financial advice before making decisions.
FCA executive director of enforcement and market oversight Mark Steward said: "You can check the status of a firm before changing your pension by visiting the FCA register, and get advice from an FCA-authorised firm before making any changes to your pension.
"During these uncertain times, it is more important than ever to defend your lifetime savings from scammers."
TPR and the FCA have warned that scammers continue to use attractive offers to persuade transfers from pensions, often setting ‘time-limit offers' or deadlines to pressure savers.
AJ senior analyst Tom Selby added: "It is more important than ever that savers are alive to the tell-tale signs of scams, including cold-calls and out of the blue and high-pressure sales tactics."
PensionBee chief executive Romi Savova said should stay vigilant and "not feel pressurised into giving away personal information" or rushing to complete a pension transfer.
"As an industry, we need to do our bit to educate people," she added.
Counsell said: "Before making any decision about your pension, take your time, and visit the ScamSmart website to always check who you are dealing with."
The true number of scam victims is likely to be far higher, the regulators say, with savers unable to spot the signs of a scam or how much pension savings they hold.
Selby said: "Scams in general tend to be underreported for a variety of reasons - including in some cases embarrassment on the victims' part.
"In recent years, the target for scammers' activity has increasingly focused on attempting to coerce people to transfer their pension into investment-based schemes."
The prevalence of scams has risen significantly across the industry this year, particularly since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic.
PensionBee research in May found two-third of savers failed to identify the most common type of pension scam, including early access and free advice.
In the wake of the UK's national lockdown, Work and Pensions Committee (WPC) chairman Stephen Timms announced the tabling of an amendment to the Pension Schemes Bill in June which will allow schemes to pause transfers where scams are suspected due to the high increase of activity.
This also coincides with the WPC's announcement of the first inquiry into the success of pension freedoms, with the first part of the three-pronged investigation set to focus specifically on scams and their affects.
When speaking to the WPC in July, pensions ombudsman Anthony Arter warned that the financial strain expected to continue as a direct result of the pandemic would open more opportunities for scammers to take money. He also urged the WPC to consider that the increase in scams during the pandemic would inundate and overload The Pensions Ombudsman's staff.
Steward warned that the regulators' latest ScamSmart campaign was a vital reminder to savers to stay alert.
"Fraudsters will seek out every opportunity to exploit innocent people," he said. "No matter how much, or how little you have saved."
Clive Tyldesley added: "Scammers are very good at breaking down your defences and putting you under pressure with various deadlines. But your pension isn't a football transfer - there are no deadlines!
"Your favourite team wouldn't buy a new striker just because his agent says he's good. They'd ask around, check out his stats, do some research - just like you should when handling your pension plans.
"Before you fall foul to savvy scammers, remember to take your time, seek advice, and speak to an FCA authorised adviser. Don't agree to anything you're unsure of."
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