Police warn of pension fraud scams after Mansfield victims lose thousands of savings
Nottinghamshire Police has warned the community to be wary of fraudsters in a new campaign highlighting the dangers of pension fraud.
Fraudsters continue to target victim's pensions across Mansfield and Ashfield and officers have asked the community to be vigilant of these types of scams.
Figures from the national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime reveal £1.8 million has already been lost to pension fraud this year.
Data from Action Fraud had previously shown a steady fall in pension scam reports from 1,788 in 2014 to 358 in 2020 – a reduction of almost 80 per cent, however, there has been an increase in reporting so far this year, with 107 reports of pension fraud received in the first three months of 2021 – an increase of almost 45 percent when compared to the same period in 2020.
Nottinghamshire Police's Fraud & Cyber Protect Officer Laura Murdock said: "Pension scams are devastating for the victims and their families.
"These aren't just isolated incidents, frauds like these where they target the elderly or vulnerable are horrible – especially when you meet the victims in person and you can see how losing life-changing sums affects people.
“Savers must be cautious about making decisions about money that may have taken a lifetime to build, as it can be snatched away in an instant.
“Learning the signs of a scam can help prevent savers becoming a victim in the first place.
"Before making decisions about their pension savers should visit The Pensions Advisory Service website for impartial guidance or get financial advice from a Financial Conduct Authority authorised financial adviser.
"If you’re contacted out of the blue about your pension, stop and think.”
In recent years, a number of reports have been triaged from Action Fraud to the force to help support vulnerable victims.
In December 2019, a man in his eighties from the Mansfield area invested an amount of their pension with a company that ceased communicating with him – he ended up losing close to £5,000 of his savings.
A retired man in his seventies from Mansfield was also scammed into trading online more than £27,000 from his savings to a Bitcoin company.
The victim researched the cryptocurrency online and decided to deposit some money into the business.
He was talked through the stock markets and continued to invest, despite losing his initial money.
His debt spiralled out of control, before the company ceased communication and he lost contact in February 2021 before reporting the scam.
The force is supporting the Action Fraud campaign to 'Protect your pension’ to help spread awareness of the scams.
"Our advice would be to immediately hang up or, if you receive any emails, texts or social media messages regarding fraud to simply ignore them." Laura continued.
"You should always consider seeking professional financial advice before changing your pension arrangements and please don't feel rushed or pressured into making a decision. "People who have lost money through a scam should call Nottinghamshire Police on 101 so officers can preserve evidence as quickly as possible."
If you think you’ve been a victim of pension fraud, contact your pension provider immediately and report it to Action Fraud online at actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040.