Those targeted were most likely to be contacted by cold call (four in five), followed by email (one in three). One in three scam targets were contacted by post, and a further one in five received a text message.
Citizens Advice is warning consumers that common signs of a pension scam include offers of free pension help, promises of high rates of return, pressure to agree to a deal quickly, and offers to help you access your pension before the age of 55.
The service recommends checking if the company making approaches is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority or The Pensions Regulator to ensure you are not being targeted by scammers.
Citizens Advice chief executive Gillian Guy said that pension scams threaten people’s financial security. “People are being targeted again and again with bogus investment offers or fraudulent pension opportunities,” she said.
“Pension and investment scams are particularly dangerous as they can destroy people’s entire pension pot, leaving them with little or no savings for retirement. We will be monitoring pension scams closely in order to track how they are evolving, and warn consumers what to look out for."
“If you’ve had an offer or signed up to a scheme you’re unsure about, contact Citizens Advice for support,” she added.
Pensions minister Ros Altmann said: “Pensions are precious so don’t fall foul of conmen who want to snatch your money. If you receive emails or junk mail with promises of get-rich-quick schemes chuck them in the bin.
“And if you get cold-called by someone offering a pension review or help to trace a lost pension hang up, because the chances are it’s a scam.”
If you think you may have been scammed contact your local Citizens Advice or the Citizens Advice consumer service line on 03454 04 05 06 (for advice in Welsh phone 03454 04 05 05).