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 discussions her Department has had with (a) pension regulators, (b) pension providers and (c) HMRC on encouraging victims of pensions scams to report that scam.

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.

DWP consistently works with other organisations to raise awareness of pension scams and encourage reporting, including regular campaigns, from the Financial Conduct Authority and the Pensions Regulator, conducted through the ScamSmart branding. Alongside promoting what to look out for to recognise a pension scam, the ScamSmart campaigns and website encourage people to report when they think they have been scammed. These messages are proving effective, in the most recent campaign prior to Covid-19, June to September 2019 over 222,000 visited the ScamSmart website to find out how to identify a scam scheme and report a scam.

The Government, working with the regulators and the Money and Pension Service communicates with pension savers to alert them to the risk of scams in the current climate. DWP continues to communicate regularly on social media to set out the warning signs of a scam and has made 18 posts referencing Pension Scams and ScamSmart in total across Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn in the period March to September 2020.

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 take to help safeguard against 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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