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As research shows fraudsters targeting people under-55 and encouraging them to access their pension early is on the increase, Which? investigates some of the causes.

 

City of London Police figures show that in the 12 months to February 2016, £13.2 million was lost to pensions liberation [problem]s – an increase of 26% on the previous year.

 

Pension liberation schemes target people under-55 and encourage them to withdraw or transfer their pension savings. However, pensions are designed to only allow savers access to their money after they turn 55. Accessing pensions savings before 55, unless in exceptional circumstances such as ill-health, is not permitted and consumers face losing up to 70% of their pot as a tax penalty.

 

And yet we found that companies offering early pension release for those under-55 are clearly advertising their services online. These sites offer early access to pension savings, potentially exploiting consumer confusion with the new pension freedoms, and don’t explain the huge losses at stake, often charging exorbitant fees.

 

Many of these sites, which could potentially be [problem]s, also appear prominently when searching online for phrases such as ‘cashing in your pension’ and could be contributing to an increase in pensions liberation [problem]s. The Financial Conduct Authority has issued a clear warning to savers about opting for early pension release, but adverts for early pension release often downplay the risks.

 

http://press.which.co.uk/whichpressreleases/pension-[problem]s-cost-savers-millions/

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