Pensions: Fraud

Department for Work and Pensions written question – answered on 23rd October 2020.

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Photo of Angela Eagle Angela Eagle Labour, Wallasey

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

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

DWP is working across government and with regulators to monitor and respond to any increases in transfers or pension scams. To date, this monitoring has revealed little evidence to demonstrate an increase in either transfers or scams across the industry as a whole as confirmed by the independent regulator. This has been confirmed by responses from industry. The Government will continue to monitor and respond to any emerging evidence.

The Government established Project Bloom, a cross-government taskforce that brings together law enforcement, government and industry to share intelligence, raise awareness of and the reporting of scams through public communication campaigns, and take enforcement action where appropriate.

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

The Government continues to work with Regulators and enforcement agencies to prevent scams and take appropriate action. In the period March - July 2020, 116 reports of possible pension fraud were received by Action Fraud, compared to 179 for the same period in 2019.

Project Bloom has identified that the methodology of scammers is continually evolving, moving away from the traditional type of theft of peoples pensions through setting up a sham scheme, towards investment related fraud. Investment related fraud includes persuading individuals to invest in ventures that do not exist or using multiple charging structures that the member is not aware of.

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