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Scams Awareness Month

July is Scams Awareness Month 2015. The aim of this month is to raise awareness about all the different types of scams people come up against on a daily basis, giving helpful tips on how to avoid them.

The theme of this year’s campaign which is run jointly by Trading Standards and Citizens Advice Bureau is “Don’t be Rushed, Don’t be Hushed”.

In addition The Pensions Advisory Service is promoting the campaign. (http://www.pensionsadvisoryservice.org.uk/news/tpas/scams-awareness-month-2015)

A pension is often a person’s biggest or second biggest asset. Unfortunately, this can attract the wrong type of attention from organisations who offer to help review your pension but in fact are helping themselves to your money.

Scams come in a variety of disguises, but in respect of pensions, phrases such as

          “one-off investment opportunities”,

          “free pension reviews”,

          “legal loopholes”,

          “cash bonus”,

          “up-front cash sum”,

          “government endorsement”,

are commonly used in pension scams.

The initial approach is often an out-of-the-blue phone call, text, email, even sometimes a doorstep caller or it could be via an imitation website. Scammers may offer early access to pension pots for people under age 55 even though this is only possible in exceptional circumstances. Not only could you lose your pension fund, but you could also find yourself with a high tax charge of 55% from HMRC for making an ‘unauthorised payment’.

While successful investigations into pension scams take place regularly, cases are investigated subject to the availability of intelligence and evidence. Unfortunately, the prospect of recovering a lost pension fund involved in scam activity is very unlikely.

Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

To find out more about Scams Awareness Month click https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/about-us/campaigns/current_campaigns/scams-awareness-month/

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