Pension cold-calling banned
Pension cold-calling has been made illegal from today, in a bid to tackle pension scams – here's what you need to know.
Companies will no longer be able to make unsolicited calls to people about their pensions. Those that break the rules could face enforcement action from the Information Commissioner's Office, including fines of up to £500,000.
The ban covers all cold-calling relating to pensions, including from legitimate firms, but it's intended to target fraudsters. The Government says cold-calling is one of the most common methods used by pension scammers, and research from the Money Advice Service suggests there could be as many as 250 million scam calls a year.
Victims of pension scams can be left with no money for their retirement. According to regulator the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), victims of pension scams lost an average of £91,000 each last year.
The Government mooted a ban in 2016, and confirmed it would press ahead with its plans in this year's Budget. Treasury Minister John Glen announced the ban would go ahead last month. MoneySavingExpert.com has supported plans for a ban, with founder Martin Lewis backing a petition in 2016 which stated a ban "would dramatically reduce the number of people falling prey to fraudsters and losing their savings and pensions".
Stop scam calls and mail using our Stop Cold Callers guide.
Who is still allowed to call me about my pension?
Not all calls about pensions have been banned – but to be legal, BOTH of the following must apply:
- The caller must be authorised by the FCA, or be the trustee or manager of a pension scheme.
- AND you must have consented to receive calls from the organisation, or have an existing relationship with the caller.
If you receive a call about your pension in any other situation, the call is illegal and may be a scam.
What should I do if I get a pension cold-call?
If you receive an illegal cold-call about your pension, record the phone number and try to get extra info from the caller, such as the name of the company they're representing. Be careful not to give the caller any personal info.
You can then report it to the Information Commisioner's Office online, or by calling 0303 123 1113.
If you think you've been a victim of fraud, you can report it to Action Fraud, the national fraud and cybercrime reporting centre, using its online reporting tool or by calling 0300 123 2040.
Our Stop Cold Callers guide has more help on blocking all types of unwanted and fraudulent calls and mail.
Pension scammers 'the lowest of the low'
Glen said: "Pension scammers are the lowest of the low. They rob savers of their hard-earned retirement and devastate lives. We know that cold-calling is the pension scammers' main tactic, which is why we've made them illegal.
"If you receive an unwanted call from an unknown caller about your pension, get as much information you can and report it to the Information Commissioner's Office. I'd also urge all savers to seek independent advice if you're thinking about making an important financial decision."