TIM DREW: Beware of pension-related scams and fraud

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AS from April 6 this year, following the new pension rules announced in last year’s budget, there is predicted to be a massive increase in pension-related scams and fraud.

Those over 55 will be able to release as much of their accrued funds as they wish, and they will be targeted by scammers who will try to inveigle them into investing in fraudulent or high risk investment schemes, or offer them cash up-front or free pension reviews.

Other risks include liability to tax charges and penalties of over half the value of your pension savings, and high charges for entering into pension liberation arrangements.

These typically amount to as much as 30 per cent of the accumulated fund.

Any unsolicited approaches about investing the money released from your pension pot under the new rules (the caller may claim to be from the Government) should therefore be treated with the utmost caution.

You may also encounter pushy ‘advisers’ who offer upfront cash incentives or suggest legal loopholes.

They may offer a ‘loan’, ‘saving advance’ or ‘cash back’ from your pension, or encourage you to accelerate the transfer process – the ‘provider’ may use an express courier service for documents.

Get as much information as possible about the caller’s background – any financial advisers should be registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

Request a statement showing how your pension will be paid when you retire, and ask who will look after your money until then.

• The Heene Neighbourhood Panel meets between 7pm-8pm at the Heene Community Centre in Heene Road on Tuesday, March 24, with PCSO Nicola Burstow hosting her surgery at the Community House, 25 Dominion Road, between midday and 1pm the next day.

Two surgeries will be held on Thursday, March 26, PCSO Ben Cruise’s surgery being at West Worthing Baptist Church, Tarring, between 11am and midday and PCSO Catherine Dines’s at Buddy’s Café, 121 South Farm Road, between midday and 1pm.