James Wright, Independent Financial Adviser at Scrutton Bland, warns against some of the bogus schemes being used to defraud people into handing over their pensions details.
“The high pressure sale” – Scammers will often try to pressure their victims into transferring their pensions into fraudulent schemes through tempting offers which will ‘expire in 24 hours’, sometimes even sending a courier to wait at their victims house while they sign the documents. In these cases the old saying stands, ‘if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is”!
“The friend of a friend who got rich” – This scam is harder to avoid because we instinctively trust our friends to tell us the truth. But when dealing with your finances, it is critical that you take a cautious approach and do your research before handing over any money.
“The get rich quick scam” – The most common of swindles, the get rich quick scam will offer a quick way of raising cash, by for example, offering the victim the chance to invest in property such as an airport car parking space which can be rented out, but of course, no such space exists. Sometimes they can be ‘guaranteed’ property development schemes, urging the investor to buy into an investment which is unregulated, thus leaving the victim financially exposed.
What can you do to avoid the scammers? If you are looking for help with your pension, investment or financial planning advice, then you should only ever use a regulated adviser from a firm which is ideally Independent and Chartered and registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (www.fca.org.uk). Don’t be afraid to ask for evidence of their credentials, fees and the measures they have in place to protect your investments.
At Scrutton Bland we recognise that pension advice is often intertwined with tax advice and have tax advisers on hand to assist in evaluating your overall needs. This thoroughness gives a depth of understanding which is hard to reach by taking separate tax and financial advice.