Victims of pension fraud lost an average of £91,000 each in 2017, research by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and The Pensions Regulator has revealed.

The two regulators are urging members of the public to be wary of unexpected offers about their pension, and have warned that people aged between 45 and 65 are most at risk.

Despite this, 32% of pension holders in this age group said they would not know how to check whether they are speaking with a legitimate pensions adviser or provider.

A further 12% said they would trust an offer of a ‘free pension review' from someone claiming to be a pension advisor.

Pension holders have been warned to watch out for common scam tactics, which include:

  • unexpected contact about pensions via phone, post or email
  • promises of guaranteed high returns and downplaying the risks
  • offering unusual or overseas investments that aren't regulated by the FCA
  • putting people under pressure to make a quick decision
  • claiming to be able to unlock money from an individual's pension (which is normally only possible from age 55).

Guy Opperman, minister for pensions and financial inclusion, said:

"Pension scams are devastating for hardworking people and can rob them of the retirement they planned.

"I would urge savers to always exercise caution and seek independent guidance or advice before making important financial decisions."