Scam pension websites are using The Pensions Regulator’s Project Bloom anti-scam materials to con consumers into unlocking their pensions, TPR has confirmed.
TPR says it has received referrals relating to a number of suspected scam websites that are dressing up legitimate investment vehicles with the Bloom campaign’s anti-scam material.
The Department for Work and Pensions has announced that it will bring in legislation for a cold-calling ban, tighter rules to prevent the opening of fraudulent pension schemes and restrictions to prevent transfers into scam schemes. But TPR remains concerned about the opportunity for scam websites to claim fresh victims by targeting the vulnerable or those with limited pensions knowledge.
Critics have attacked the slow timetable for the likely implementation of new rules, with former minister Steve Webb saying it could be 2020 before cold-calling is actually banned.
TPR says it will demand sites using its materials immediately cease using material that TPR owns and will investigate with other agencies whether legal proceedings can be launched on the basis of existing law.
The multi-agency Project Bloom taskforce is led by TPR and includes the DWP, HM Treasury, the FCA, HMRC, the Serious Fraud Office, City of London Police, the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau, The Pensions Advisory Service, and the National Crime.
TPR chief executive Lesley Titcomb says: “These sites are wolves in sheep’s clothing, lying in wait for unsuspecting victims by portraying themselves as being beyond reproach.
“The truth is that this next generation of scam sites poses a real threat to people’s financial futures and should be avoided.
“We welcome the Government’s tough new measures, which will strike a significant blow to pension scammers who devastate people’s lives by duping them out of their life savings.
“We are working closely with government, enforcement agencies and key financial service bodies to bring scammers to justice and, through our Scorpion campaign, to help the public protect themselves from scams.”