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Thousands caught up as pensions plundered by rogue investment scams

31 Dec 2019, 08:02

https://www.thelondoneconomic.com/news/ ... ams/30/12/

The Pensions Regulator said it was working with the Financial Conduct Authority to prevent crime.

Public service workers including police officers, nurses and teachers are among thousands of people caught up in pension scams which have seen their retirement pots plundered.

An investigation claimed rogue investment schemes registered with HMRC sought about cold-calling savers to transfer their pensions over, seducing them with offers of better financial returns on their investments.

But many of those new schemes were later wound up, with savers having lost crucial funds to support them through retirement.

In another blow, HMRC is said to be contacting some victims over concerns the transfer had broken the law because tax was not paid to remove their pensions and invest them elsewhere.

Experts said some savers lost six-figure sums, while the Daily Mail investigation said around 100,000 people lost up to a combined £10 billion in savings from over 100 schemes.

Sue Flood, a former sales and marketing executive who lost £125,000 with her husband in a rogue investment scheme, told the newspaper: “We and the rest of the victims sit like lambs to the slaughter whilst we wait for HMRC to devour our individual carcasses and to levy a tax penalty.

“How can this be justice?”

The Pensions Regulator said it was working with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to prevent crimes from happening.

A spokesman said: “Pension scammers wreck lives. We and other agencies continue to put people behind bars for pension fraud while pursuing their ill-gotten gains.

“On many occasions we have put independent trustees in charge of scam schemes to prevent criminals draining away victims’ savings and we have a number of ongoing major criminal investigations into pension fraud worth tens of millions of pounds.

“Education remains the greatest weapon in our arsenal. We will not stop hunting the criminals responsible.”

Schemes operated by enticing workers under the cloak of legitimacy offered by being enrolled with HMRC and registered with the Pensions Regulator.

Employers – including the likes of Royal Mail and the Ministry of Defence (MoD) – then transferred the pension pots into the new schemes.

But the nest eggs were invested in high-risk accounts, meaning many savers’ pensions were frittered away, with little chance of getting a return on their money.

A Royal Mail statement said: “Like all pension providers we have a statutory obligation to release pension funds to HMRC-registered schemes when requested by members.

“We send members the FCA/Pension Regulator ‘ScamSmart’ leaflet, which provides information on how they can protect themselves against pension scams before transferring their pensions.

“We also advise pension plan members to seek independent financial advice from an Independent Financial Adviser authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority before making any decision about their pension.

“Where members choose to use an IFA, we validate that they are registered with the FCA.”

An MoD spokesman said: “Members of the Armed Forces Pension Scheme have a right to transfer their pension and we are legally obliged to facilitate transfers when an individual requests us to do so.

“We share guidance outlining fraud risks with all members requesting a transfer, although we are prohibited from offering financial advice.

“We sympathise with those who have lost out because of illegal and fraudulent firms.”

An HMRC statement said: “We empathise with anyone who believes they have been misled about their pension investments.

“HMRC registers pension schemes for tax purposes and does not regulate pensions.

“The Government provides pensions tax relief with the expectation that the savings will provide benefits to pension scheme members on retirement.

“When someone takes money out of their pension fund it is usually taxed at that point, the unauthorised payment charge prevents abuse of the system by ensuring tax is paid on money that is withdrawn.”

Thousands caught up as pensions plundered by rogue investment scams

31 Dec 2019, 13:12

This article might also be of interest: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/articl ... phole.html

It includes an ex-postie who succumbed to the pension scammers. His story is copied below:

Ex-postal worker Dennis Waite was left feeling suicidal after losing his £108,000 pension to HMRC-registered scammers. He is now also being targeted by the taxman.

The 52-year-old, from Braintree, Essex, worked full time at the Royal Mail for 21 years. In 2013, he was cold-called about the Capita Oak scheme, which he was told would give a better return than his Royal Mail pension and a lump sum £5,000 payment from the savings.

He said: 'I was initially doubtful but they stressed the Government registration and provided me all the details of it.

'It all checked out so I went ahead and transferred my pension. Royal Mail didn't question it either.'

Mr Waite received the £5,000, but then heard nothing about the rest of his pension.

'There were no statements or any information at all. I was wondering what the hell was going on. I kept trying to get in touch but was getting nothing. It was a nightmare.'

The scheme was later wound up after the Pensions Ombudsman said it was connected to a 'pension liberation scam' and is now being investigated by the Serious Fraud Office.

'The £108,000 was my life savings – my entire future – I felt suicidal. You go through initial stage of 'I want to throw myself under a bus'.

'Through the internet I got in touch with others and began to understand what a massive racket it was. It was a giant ring – fleecing hard-working people.'

But worse was to come. Despite having registered the scheme in the first place, HMRC is now demanding he repay the £5,000 he received.

'HMRC say I've had an unauthorised payment out of my pension. But they were the ones that registered the scheme which is the only reason I signed up to it in the first place.

'I have lost everything to scammers and now I am expected to pay the very people who helped convince me to trust the scammers.

Thousands caught up as pensions plundered by rogue investment scams

31 Dec 2019, 13:23

Crikey, what a nightmare.
I never even realised that you could move your RM pension whilst still working for them and contributing. I think I will leave mine exactly where it is thank you.

Thousands caught up as pensions plundered by rogue investment scams

31 Dec 2019, 17:36

Not sure why people would want to move something that is guaranteed. True the pension has took a hammering. However, as plenty on here, myself included will tell you, there are ways of boosting your pension.

Thousands caught up as pensions plundered by rogue investment scams

31 Dec 2019, 20:04

Anyone who wants more info about pension scams might find these links useful:

https://www.pensionsadvisoryservice.org ... tion-plans
https://www.fca.org.uk/scamsmart/how-av ... sion-scams
https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/e ... nsion-scam

Thousands caught up as pensions plundered by rogue investment scams

01 Jan 2020, 13:50

heapsy wrote:Not sure why people would want to move something that is guaranteed. True the pension has took a hammering. However, as plenty on here, myself included will tell you, there are ways of boosting your pension.


Because they got greedy and saw pound signs flashing - instead of using common sense or getting an IFA to advise them - no-one to blame but themselves.
The usual adage applies...if it appears too good to be true..........

Thousands caught up as pensions plundered by rogue investment scams

01 Jan 2020, 16:52

no sympathy from you then.

Thousands caught up as pensions plundered by rogue investment scams

01 Jan 2020, 19:07

daveyeff wrote:no sympathy from you then.


No there is not

1 - In many cases they were cold called (no respectable fully regulated company does business this way) - but these people thought...hey i will hand over my pension to some company who cold called me out of the blue.
2 - They didn't go and see an IFA to get advice
3 - In quite a few of these cases they were under the age of 55...which again using common sense/research/IFA would have raised a massive red flag in the 1st place.
4 - Now they are crying because they have to pay tax to the HMRC...like everyone else does.

It's called taking responsibility for your own actions and choices

They made stupid decisions and now pay the price...tough

Thousands caught up as pensions plundered by rogue investment scams

02 Jan 2020, 02:35

dandydon wrote:
daveyeff wrote:no sympathy from you then.


No there is not

1 - In many cases they were cold called (no respectable fully regulated company does business this way) - but these people thought...hey i will hand over my pension to some company who cold called me out of the blue.
2 - They didn't go and see an IFA to get advice
3 - In quite a few of these cases they were under the age of 55...which again using common sense/research/IFA would have raised a massive red flag in the 1st place.
4 - Now they are crying because they have to pay tax to the HMRC...like everyone else does.

It's called taking responsibility for your own actions and choices

They made stupid decisions and now pay the price...tough


Well, let's hope that you don't do anything stupid as you are ssssooooo clued up to pensions/tax/benefits and how they are all related. We will see. A little empathy goes a long way. Would you expect sympathy from other people when your on the picket line, when your getting shafted by your employer, oh wait, you sound like a one man band who probably isn't in the union. :thumbdown :thumbdown :thumbdown :cuppa

Thousands caught up as pensions plundered by rogue investment scams

02 Jan 2020, 15:39

Navalron wrote:
dandydon wrote:
daveyeff wrote:no sympathy from you then.


No there is not

1 - In many cases they were cold called (no respectable fully regulated company does business this way) - but these people thought...hey i will hand over my pension to some company who cold called me out of the blue.
2 - They didn't go and see an IFA to get advice
3 - In quite a few of these cases they were under the age of 55...which again using common sense/research/IFA would have raised a massive red flag in the 1st place.
4 - Now they are crying because they have to pay tax to the HMRC...like everyone else does.

It's called taking responsibility for your own actions and choices

They made stupid decisions and now pay the price...tough


Well, let's hope that you don't do anything stupid as you are ssssooooo clued up to pensions/tax/benefits and how they are all related. We will see. A little empathy goes a long way. Would you expect sympathy from other people when your on the picket line, when your getting shafted by your employer, oh wait, you sound like a one man band who probably isn't in the union. :thumbdown :thumbdown :thumbdown :cuppa


1 Yes i am in the union.
2 Never said i was an expert in anything - read the post - i said use common sense and get advice.
3 I have done many stupid things in my life (like all of us) - some of it financial - guess what...i didn't blame anybody else it was 100% my fault.
4 Empathy for those that deserve it

Thousands caught up as pensions plundered by rogue investment scams

03 Jan 2020, 13:24

dandydon wrote:
Navalron wrote:
dandydon wrote:
daveyeff wrote:no sympathy from you then.


No there is not

1 - In many cases they were cold called (no respectable fully regulated company does business this way) - but these people thought...hey i will hand over my pension to some company who cold called me out of the blue.
2 - They didn't go and see an IFA to get advice
3 - In quite a few of these cases they were under the age of 55...which again using common sense/research/IFA would have raised a massive red flag in the 1st place.
4 - Now they are crying because they have to pay tax to the HMRC...like everyone else does.

It's called taking responsibility for your own actions and choices

They made stupid decisions and now pay the price...tough




Well, let's hope that you don't do anything stupid as you are ssssooooo clued up to pensions/tax/benefits and how they are all related. We will see. A little empathy goes a long way. Would you expect sympathy from other people when your on the picket line, when your getting shafted by your employer, oh wait, you sound like a one man band who probably isn't in the union. :thumbdown :thumbdown :thumbdown :cuppa


1 Yes i am in the union.
2 Never said i was an expert in anything - read the post - i said use common sense and get advice.
3 I have done many stupid things in my life (like all of us) - some of it financial - guess what...i didn't blame anybody else it was 100% my fault.
4 Empathy for those that deserve it
:cuppa :cuppa :cuppa

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