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Pension scams were addressed by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and The Pensions Regulator (TPR) recently, as it was revealed in August that more than £30million had been lost to pension scams since 2017. According to their analysis, individual losses ranges from less than £1,000 to as much as £500,000.
Additionally, the National Audit Office and other organisations have found the pandemic has created an environment for fraudsters to take advantage of coronavirus fears and target savers.
With these worrying findings emerging, Angela Eagle, a Labour MP for Wallasey, found it prudent to ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her department has made of trends in the number of pension scams during the COVID-19 outbreak.
In response to the query, Guy Opperman, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary for the DWP, had the following to say: “DWP is working across government and with regulators to monitor and respond to any increases in transfers or pension scams.
“To date, this monitoring has revealed little evidence to demonstrate an increase in either transfers or scams across the industry as a whole as confirmed by the independent regulator.
“This has been confirmed by responses from industry. The Government will continue to monitor and respond to any emerging evidence.
“The Government established Project Bloom, a cross-government taskforce that brings together law enforcement, government and industry to share intelligence, raise awareness of and the reporting of scams through public communication campaigns, and take enforcement action where appropriate.”
He went on to provide evidence for his assertion: “The Government continues to work with Regulators and enforcement agencies to prevent scams and take appropriate action.
“In the period March – July 2020, 116 reports of possible pension fraud were received by Action Fraud, compared to 179 for the same period in 2019.”
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While it remains to be seen if the government’s efforts will curtail pension scam issues, steps have been taken elsewhere to protect consumers in the run up to Christmas, a period where transactions typically rise and as such, so do risks.
On October 23, LBC launched: “The LBC Consumer Hour Scam Awareness Campaign” in an effort to raise awareness of the most common scams doing the rounds in the run up to Christmas.
Dean Dunham, the Host of LBC’c Consumer Hour, had the following to say: “We need to do more to stop innocent people, often the vulnerable, falling victims to scams. Leading up to Christmas tens of thousands of people will be caught out by a scam and lose their hard-earned money.
“If we can forewarn people about as many scams as possible, we will reduce the number of victims.”
The campaign will focus on three main areas:
- To raise awareness about as many scams as possible, in the hope that it will help consumers to avoid these scams
- To provide useful advice and tips on how to spot a scam
- To provide useful advice on how to get money back if a person is scammed
The campaign will run up to Christmas on LBC and the station is calling on those that have fallen victim of a scam, or know someone that has been a victim, to get in touch with their story which can be shared to make others aware.
To get in contact with LBC, people can contact the organisation by going to www.lbc.co.uk/radio/special-shows/consumer-hour/.
Additionally, they get in touch by tweeting @deandunham or by calling Dean between 9-10pm on Fridays during the LBC Consumer Hour on 0345 60 60 973, or by texting 84850.
Dean concluded the launch with the following comments: “One victim of a scam is too many, but if this campaign helps to save at least one person from losing their money to a scam, it will be a huge success”.
“People need to let others know about scams and this campaign is the best and most visible way of doing this. Together, we can make a real difference”
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