Pension scams

Fraudsters are good at creating scams that target your pension.

We explain their methods, so you can protect your money.


Warning signs of a pension scam

A guarantee of higher returns

Fraudsters may promise to increase the money in your pension and offer higher interest rates.

Access to your pension before 55 years old

If someone offers to release cash early from your pension, it’s more than likely a scam. 

An unusual, complicated or long-term investment

It’s easier for a fraudster to manipulate you if you don’t fully understand what’s on offer.

Higher than normal fees

A pension scam may involve more than one person or company, who all take a fee.

The methods behind a pension scam

Fraudsters pretend to be genuine companies

To win your trust, fraudsters create fake companies or copy the name of a genuine firm.

They act professionally, may know a lot about pensions and have documents that seem real.

Fraudsters can claim to be approved by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) or say they don’t need approval because they’re only offering a deal, not advice.

Some fraudsters even pretend to be the FCA or the Pension Service. Always make sure you’re dealing with a genuine company before you take any action.

Check the register of companies and advisers on the FCA website and their scam warning list.

Fraudsters create fake websites

To make a scam seem real, fraudsters build fake company websites with made up reviews and facts about pensions.

Use the FCA website to find genuine contact details for a company, like phone numbers and a website address.

If a company contacts you, never use any details that they give. Always use contact details you trust.

Use a free website checker from Get Safe Online to find out if a website is genuine.

Is an offer too good to be true?

Pension scams often tempt you by promising great returns on your money.

Fraudsters want you to transfer your pension or promise to release cash from it early.

But a fake deal can put all of your pension savings at risk.

Make sure a pension offer is genuine first, then check there are no hidden fees.

Use ScamSmart on the FCA website to check a deal.

Did they contact you out of the blue?

Fraudsters like to phone, email or text to offer pension deals.

Never reply to an unexpected message. Just delete it.

Hang up on any pension cold calls and report them to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

Fraudsters also advertise online and rely on word of mouth recommendations from other people who don’t realise they’re being scammed as well.

Always check any pension offer or advice, even if it comes from someone you know and trust.

Do they put you under pressure?

Fraudsters can use short deadlines or promise high returns to force you into a decision.

They may arrange couriers to wait at your home while you sign documents.

Never trust anybody who puts you under pressure to make a quick decision.

Take your time. Do all the checks you need, even if it means turning down an ‘amazing deal’.

Have you done any research or got advice?

Before you start a pension or change one, get all the advice you need. Usually, you have to pay a fee to get financial advice about a pension.

Fraudsters can contact you to offer free pension reviews and free advice to pull you into a scam.

Call the FCA to find out if a company or adviser can give financial advice.

If a company is approved by the FCA, you are protected by the Financial Ombudsman Service or Financial Services Compensation Scheme.

You can be scammed more than once

If a fraudster scams you, they may target you again or they can sell your details to other fraudsters.

A second scam is often different to the first one. For example, fraudsters may contact you to offer help to get your money back from the earlier scam, or to buy back an investment if you pay an upfront fee.

Further help and how to report a pension scam

Learn about other scams and how to protect yourself

Learn about the latest scams

Fraudsters are always looking for new ways to try to steal your details and money. Discover which scams are common right now.

Go to latest scams

Have you been targeted by fraudsters?

Contact us right away if you think you've been scammed. We can then guide you on what to do next.

Contact us now

Stay scam safe

Learn how to spot and avoid scams, and how to report fraud.

Protect yourself from fraud

Stay scam safe

Learn how to spot and avoid scams, and how to report fraud.

Protect yourself from fraud