Nottinghamshire Pension Fund Committee has signed up to a national initiative from the Pensions Regulator in a bid to combat pension scams and protect Nottinghamshire Pension Fund members.
The Pensions Regulator’s (TPR) ‘Pledge to Combat Pensions Scams’ was endorsed by the committee after councillors met last week.
It commits the pension fund to do what they can to protect scheme members against scams including; increased communications to fund members setting out the tell-tale signs of a scam; extra training on scams for fund staff; supporting the Financial Conduct Authority’s ScamSmart campaign.
The TPR says pension scam losses totalling £31m have been filed with the police in the last four years, with reported losses ranging from under £1,000 to as much as £500,000.
Frequent methods of scammers include unsolicited approaches by telephone, text messages or in person and attempting to quickly pressurise someone into a decision.
Pension fund members should also be aware of companies that do not allow you to call them back and where contact details provided and published on a website are only a PO Box address or mobile number.
Claims that an individual can unlock a pension before the age of 55 should also cause concern as this is only possible in very rare and specific circumstances, such as ill health.
Councillor Eric Kerry, Chairman of the Nottinghamshire Pension Fund Committee, said: “Pension scams are on the rise and we need to stop this worrying trend. It is good news that committee members have agreed to sign up to the Pension Regulator’s pledge, this will enhance what we currently do, and it shows our pension fund members we are intent on protecting them.
“We are fully focused on stopping pension scammers in their tracks. Now we have signed up to the pledge we are committed to taking increased action, including making both fund members and staff more aware of how scams operate and how to immediately spot the signs of an attempt.
“Pensions scams are becoming ever more sophisticated, but there are ways people can avoid potential scams including cutting contact with unsolicited approaches regarding pensions and checking the company’s contact details on their website.
“The Nottinghamshire Pension Fund will do everything we can to safeguard our members from getting conned by a pension scammer.”
The Nottinghamshire Pension Fund is administrated by Nottinghamshire County Council on behalf of over 300 active scheme employers which include the county council, all district and borough councils in Nottinghamshire, Nottingham Trent University, and many other organisations. The fund has over 145,000 members and is worth £6.1 billion.