Beware Pension Scams 4 Rules for You

This is good news for the economy and the Government, which predicts HMRC will take £320 million extra tax on released funds in 2015/16.

But circling silently are the sharks. Crooks who see this as a unique opportunity to strip the lifetime savings from anyone who is slightly too naïve or hopeful. Here’s how to spot them.

Rule 1

Ignore anyone who tells you that people under 55 can take out their pension. If you fall for their blandishments, the best you can hope for is a bill from HMRC for 55% of the amount ‘liberated’. The worst is you will get the bill but the money itself will have disappeared.

Rule 2

Only ever invest in something you understand. For most people that rules out any investment in another country. So holiday homes in Costa Rica, Nigerian cement factories, or parking bays in the Middle East are not for you.

Beware of anything with the word ‘green’ or sustainable’ in it. Bio-fuel waste management in South America, sustainable rainforest harvests in Congo, or carbon credit trading anywhere should all be avoided.

Rule 3
Never invest in anything if you were cold-called. Share scams from so-called ‘boiler rooms’ con around 5000 people a year.

Landbanking – selling small plots of muddy fields on the promise of future planning permission to develop – is still going on. And wine investment firms will cold-call with ‘facts’ about how fine wine has grown in value.

Rule 4

If anyone offers you a return of more than 6% a year, treat it with great caution. And if a return is guaranteed, you can be sure it won’t be.