In 2021, reports of pension scams increased by 45%, with fraudsters stealing over £2m from people in the UK in just 6 months (Action Fraud, 2021; FCA, 2021). This is also likely to be a significant underestimate of financial losses, as the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) estimates that less than 1 in 5 scams are reported. However, there is little rigorous evidence on what governments and the industry can do to reduce pension savers’ susceptibility to fraud.
In this report, we present the findings from an evidence review on: the scale of pension scams; the impact on those affected; the types of scams and tactics used; those most likely to be affected and current trends. We combined this review of the academic and grey literature with interviews with people affected by scams and professionals working for pension providers or MaPS helplines, as well as conversations with relevant Government and regulator teams.
Based on the insights from the literature and our interviews, we propose 10 actionable and evidence-based ideas that the Money and Pension Service (MaPS) and other stakeholders can adopt to lower the risks of scams and offer better support to those affected.