Pension scams worth millions of pounds are being masterminded by criminal and fraudster families, according to new investigations.
The multi-agency Project Bloom – which involves government agencies, regulators and police forces around the UK – found that a number of married couples and families involved in fraud are specifically targeting pension holders.
It says it has found evidence that these families have hired rogue financial experts with specialist pension knowledge, including accountants, advisers and trustees, to run the large-scale scams for them.
It says without these professional enablers these scams would not be successful.
Those heading this investigation have recently met to discuss this issue and how the various agencies can work together to target those responsible.
Representatives of the Pensions Scams Industry Group (PSIG) also reported that pension providers are identifying more suspicious transfer requests than ever before and alerting members to what they believe could be scams.
This follows the voluntary body issuing a new code of good practice to trustees, providers and administrators in 2018 that features guidance on carrying out due diligence well.
The Pension Regulator’s executive director of frontline regulation, Nicola Parish says: “Trustees and administrators play a key role in preventing members from falling victim to scams by identifying suspicious requests early.
“The better they are at spotting the signs of a scam, the quicker members can be warned and we can investigate.
“Working together we can target those trying to plunder people’s pension pots and bring them to justice.”
The Minister for pensions and financial inclusion Guy Opperman adds: “Scammers who siphon off savings built up over decades are the lowest of the low. We’re determined to put a stop to the misery these callous crooks inflict, which is why we’re supporting the work being done to stamp out pension theft.”
PSIG chair, Margaret Snowdon adds: “The closer we work together, the more difficult it is for scammers to steal people’s pensions.
“We will continue to do everything we can to spot possible scams early so we can help consumers to avoid becoming victims.”