Pensions: Fraud

Department for Work and Pensions written question – answered on 17th September 2020.

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Photo of Henry Smith Henry Smith Conservative, Crawley

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the potential increase in pension scams since the covid-19 outbreak.

Photo of Guy Opperman Guy Opperman The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

Through Project Bloom, DWP works with other government departments, regulators, enforcement agencies and the pensions industry to monitor the evolution of scam typology and respond with a collective and coordinated response. Project Bloom is examining the range of measures that all agencies including providers and financial professionals could take to help prevent scams.

At the onset of the covid-19 pandemic, the Department convened a cross-government and regulator group to closely monitor and respond to any increase in transfers and scams. The group includes DWP, HMT, both the Pensions Regulator and the FCA as well as the Money and Pensions Service and the Pension Ombudsman. This is supported by cross government and regulator gathering, monitoring and evaluating of data in order to develop as complete and robust a picture as possible. At this point the Department doesn’t yet have any robust evidence showing an increase in pension scams activity but will continue to monitor across the industry.

In addition to active monitoring, the Government, working with the regulators and the Money and Pension Service has been communicating with pension savers to alert them to the risk of scams in the current climate. DWP continues to communicate regularly on social media out the warning signs of a scam. A joint statement was issued by The Pension Regulator, Financial Conduct Authority, and Money Advice and Pension Service on 7 April pointing to the actions members should seek to take to safeguard against becoming victims of scams. Additional guidance was issued to trustees, and providers from both The Financial Conduct Authority and the Pensions Regulator to support them to produce suitable communications during the Covid-19 outbreak.

Please see links below for more information about the joint statement from Regulators and the Money Advice Service, and help available, produced by the Pension Protection Fund and supported by government.

https://www.fca.org.uk/news/press-releases/covid-19-savers-stay-calm-dont-rush-financial-decisions

https://www.ppf.co.uk/sites/default/files/file-2020-05/COVID-19-and-your-pension.pdf

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