People with university degrees more likely to fall for pension scams, regulators warn

People with degrees are more likely to fall for pension scams than those who did not graduate from university, research by regulators has found.

Over-confidence could be one of the factors putting victims at risk, because it makes them more likely to miss the signs of frauds, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and The Pensions Regulator (TPR) said.

A survey of 4,017 people aged 45-65 with a pension by the regulators found those with university degrees were more likely to fall for the kind of tactics commonly used by cold call scammers.

One in seven (14pc) people with a degree said they would accept a free pension review from a company they have not dealt with before, compared with 10pc of people without a degree.

And 17pc with a degree would take up an offer of early access to their pension pot, versus 14pc with no degree. 

Nearly two-thirds (63pc) said they were confident making a decision about their pension, however, the same proportion (63pc) would trust someone offering pensions advice out of the blue – another sign of a scam.

Analysis also found that it could typically take 22 years for a saver to build a pension pot of £82,000 – the average amount victims lost to scams last year.

The £14.7m total lost to pension scams in 2018 is down by 36pc on the previous year, when £23m of retirement money was lost, according to Action Fraud.

However, the agency said the real figures are likely to be higher as scams often go unreported and those affected may not realise for several years.

Mark Steward, the FCA’s executive director of enforcement and market oversight, said: “Reject unsolicited approaches offering ‘help’ with your pension and get advice from an FCA authorised firm before making big changes to your pension fund. Make sure your lifetime savings stay yours.”


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