Financial Scams and Pensions

It’s almost the tax year end and the usual ‘Inland Revenue‘ scams abound; and with other changes there will be even more including a mass of ‘helpful’ offers.

I hope we all know that an e-mail from the Inland revenue – the tax man – will always be bogus, especially if you are promised a tax refund. The only thing to do is to delete it – don’t open it.

But now we have two new menaces.

Anyone and everyone can get your name and contact – personal details relating to us all are available from a number of sources and provided that information rules are followed, commercial organisations can buy them for their business use.

There are two new reasons now for these people to plague us.

  • everyone over 55 can now take as much as they like from their pension ‘pot’
    How many calls will you get offering to help you to use that money either  in a better way – or to invest or to buy something special?
    If they have harvested your details they will make it a personal offer – but even if they haven’t they will still hope to entice you with a ‘chance’ e-mail or phone call.
  • you can now take the cash from you annuity if you no longer feel it meets your needs.
    Most people will not understand how to make this decision – but, for sure, they will be plenty of people wanting to talk to you to ‘help’ you.
    Further reading here

Phishing

You must have had so many trash calls about PII mis-selling and many others before for mortgages and insurances. The sad part was that even if you weren’t sold a PII insurance you would still get a phone call saying that had compensation waiting for your claim.

Beware investing in Buy to Let.

If the growth in the values of domestic properties is slowing, especially in London, that could signal the end of the ‘investment’ run. One of the golden rules of investing it to buy at the bottom of a market not at the top.

So, beware, with the real possibility of badly investing in this market you could rue the day you swapped you pension for a bad deal. Take the best advice before committing to something as important as this on emotional terms.

Ros Altmann, the Government’s older workers tsar, described the ease with which companies are apparently able to buy and sell personal information as “scary”.

The Information Commissioner began an inquiry into firms allegedly agreeing to sell customers’ financial information without full checks on what would be done with it.

An investigation by the Daily Mail targeted data firms, with reporters posing as a cold-calling company looking for people with pensions to whom they could sell investments.

Steve Webb, the pensions minister, has warned that over-55s were likely to face a “plague” of cold callers copying tactics used by PPI claims specialists.

Dr Altmann said the threat from personal information being bought and sold was a much wider one. She called for the law to be made tighter and much stricter penalties to be put in place for unauthorised sales of personal data.

“It is a joke,” she said. “The big story is that your personal details … anything that you spend money on, anything you have invested in, your whole lifestyle, can be sold for a pittance for other people to make millions on and you have no control over it.

“It is not just your financial data, it is your health data, your personal private information. If you bought an incontinence pad you would probably never dream of telling anybody, but that information might be sold on.

“This is scary stuff — these are massive companies who are making a fortune in buying bits of data without thinking about the person attached to the other end of it. We are supposed to be protected by the law but the laws don’t bite.”

Whatever is being done – however the Information Commissioner and Government deal with this, the important message is don’t be taken and turn away anyone who calls you without your prior invitation.

And, if you do need help with a decision about pensions call a reliably independent financial adviser.

 

Financial Scams and Pensions

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