Avoid being fooled this April 1st
April Fool's Day is celebrated every year on April 1; it is made famous by playing practical jokes and spreading hoaxes in all aspects of everyday life. It is celebrated around the whole of the western world, with the unfortunate victims being called April fools. Some of the most infamous hoaxes from last year included ‘urban’ camouflage (brickwork design) for the British Army, the introduction of the Coca-cola Helium designed to lift drinkers spirits) and the promotion of frozen flowers, Iceland’s latest range of frozen produce.
But why do we continue to fall for these false stories? Well, because they sound believable! The breakthrough in research and technology mean that the impossible is becoming possible, so we are less surprised by Amazon’s “Petlexa” software that allows your Amazon echo to understand questions from your pets (We had our fingers crossed this one was actually true). The same can be said when we receive offers from people about our pension savings, often the initial communication and offer seem harmless and very believable. But like all good April Fools, these are often too good to be true!
Pension scams creep in when you least expect it and unlike a light-hearted April Fool, can be devastating for your later life plans. But, unlike some of the April Fools mentioned above, we believe spotting a pension scam is much easier, especially if you know what to look out for.
- Cold called about your pension? Hang up!If you’re contacted out of the blue about your pension it’s almost always a scam, especially if they say they are calling from Government organisations like ourselves, we never contact you in this way.
- Time-bound and high value ‘deals’ that aren’t quite as they seem….Always be wary of unregulated investments that promise ‘guaranteed returns’, these often include high-value products like property, hotels, overseas ventures or storage. You should also avoid offers that put all your money in one place, often abroad when you have no consumer protection.
- Check, check and check again! Make sure you know what you’re signing up for! If you’re using a financial adviser, always check they are authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority. Always check out what your pension options are before making any hasty decisions. You can use free and legitimate services like ours, we can help with all of your pension queries or, through Pension Wise (if you’re over 50 with a defined Contribution pot).
Protecting your pension from scams is essential in protecting your later life plans, so don’t be fooled this April and always make sure you understand what you’re being offered.
If you’re not sure about a ‘deal’ always check with us first, we’re available Monday to Friday 9-5 on 0300 123 1047. We also have a dedicated tool you can use to check out your personal situation and find out about offers you might have received, helping you to identify a potential scam and provide you with any next steps you might need.