Tomorrow we will be millionaires
Sadly, pension scammers are more likely to become millionaires than you are. There are more cases of fraud in the UK each year than any other type of crime. In case you were not aware of the scale of the problem, a report published by the police a couple of years ago confirmed that there were 842 known organised crime groups – involved in fraud – operating in the UK alone. There are of course many more criminal organisations outside this country, also targeting the UK. They only need an internet connection, and when operating abroad the chances of being caught are minimal.
Recently, in part perhaps because of COVID-19, criminals have increasingly started looking for victims online. Given the devastating effect of people being scammed out of their pension savings, the government’s decision to include online fraud in the upcoming Online Safety Bill is a major step in the right direction, and one that all of us who have spent decades fighting scammers welcome wholeheartedly.
Although this will not stop the fraudsters, it will be a major bump in the road for them. It will be another layer of protection against the growing problem of online financial scams and hopefully make the internet safer for us all. It’s a sobering thought that legislation is required to force online scams adverts and websites to be taken down quickly. Remember that the next time you are surfing the internet and see an offer related to pensions – or investments more generally. If it looks too good to be true, then it probably is!
I have worked in pensions for a quarter of a century, much of that time fighting pension scammers. If there is a legal, low-risk way of substantially increasing my pension savings, I have not found it. Not many months go by before I discover another pensions scam though. The Online Safety Bill isn’t going to help you increase your pension pot, but it might just save you from losing it.
- Gary Crockford, Head of Knowledge Resource Centre at Buck