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Can you detect a pension scam?

Find out how savvy you are when it comes to spotting a scam – take our quiz

Fraud is on the increase and anyone can be a victim. Pension scammers are clever, but if you know what to look out for, you can stay one step ahead of them.

Fraudsters go to great pains to appear legitimate. They may look the part with their slick marketing materials. They may use all the right financial jargon. They may even claim their company is approved by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

But before you speak to them, do your own research to make sure you know who you’re dealing with. Don’t feel pressured into making a decision about what to do with your money and seriously consider talking to a financial adviser when it comes to your pension – and be sure to use an adviser that is FCA-regulated. Never take investment advice from the company that contacted you or an adviser they suggest – this might be part of the scam.

Don’t let pension scammers steal what you’ve worked so hard for.

Find out how to contact an FCA authorised financial adviser and get guidance about your pension.


Test your knowledge of pension scams

1. While carrying out an online search on investments, Melanie came across a website offering the opportunity to release cash from her pension fund before the age of 55. What action should she take?



2. Ben was told about a special offer on a one-off investment, but the offer expires in three days’ time. What should he do?



3. Mike received a call about releasing money from his pension fund. He was told there was a loophole he could take advantage of. Although it sounded intriguing, he was a bit dubious and asked the firm for their web address so he could take a more in-depth look. Is this enough to help Mike make a decision?



4. What are some of the warning words and phrases associated with pension scams?



5. Tyler was told by a colleague about an overseas investment opportunity that could give him great returns. When Tyler looked into the offer, it seemed really complicated to understand. What should his next steps be?



6. Lesley’s afraid she’s fallen victim to a pension scam. Is it too late? What should she do?


MoneyHelper supports people that want to rebuild their pension savings – you can book an appointment by email.

At USS, we want our members to be armed with the knowledge to ensure they don’t fall victim to scammers. While the examples above are useful, they’re only a sample of the type of pensions scams out there – fraudsters are always finding new ways to catch people off guard.

To learn more about pension scams visit the FCA’s How to avoid pensions scams and ScamSmart.

USS has pledged to combat pension scams. We follow the principles of the Pension Scams Industry Group Code of Practice and regularly warn our members about pension scams.

Note that from 30 November 2021, trustees must ensure specific checks are made before complying with a member’s request to transfer their pension. These checks will form part of the scheme’s due diligence process for relevant transfer requests.


Published: 9 December 2021

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