Cold Calling Ban Won’t Stop Scams, Pension Advisory Service Warns

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The government’s cold-calling ban won’t stop pension scams, the chief executive of the Pension Advisory Service (Tpas) warns.

Speaking at Dentons Pensions annual event in London, Michelle Cracknell said that Tpas was receiving “increasing evidence” that scammers were using other methods of communication to contact consumers.

New tactics include contacting potential victims via social media and through existing relationships with other finance companies.

Ms Cracknell warned that it’s still too easy for scammers to find savers to take advantage of, with increasingly intelligent methods being embraced.

She said: “I welcome a ban on cold-calling but we have increasing evidence that people are being contacted through other ways.

“Linkedin, social media, all of these places are currently being used to get to people and to talk to them about having a pension review.

“Cold-calling will certainly reduce the number of calls I get on my mobile but it’s not going to stop pension scams. The pickings are too rich.”

Surprisingly, many of the scams seen today are considered “legal”, making it harder for providers to stop them.

Ms Cracknell explained: “The providers of schemes can’t actually stop them from happening because most of them are going into legal vehicles from which there are some really horrid, nasty, inappropriate investments being made.”

Earlier this year the Financial Conduct Authority (FCS) warned consumers of what it calls “smarter scams”.

A statement on its website said: “Scammers are becoming increasingly sophisticated in developing products designed to defeat firms’ due diligence efforts. We want firms to be aware of the current threats and encourage them to review the effectiveness of their systems and controls.”

It’s becoming increasingly common for scams to use the services of a discretionary fund manager who will create an investment portfolio that does not require the direct input of the investor.

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