Pension liberation scam victim commits suicide after losing £42000

Published:  25 Aug at 6 PM
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An anonymous victim, aged 40, committed suicide recently after being defrauded of all his pension pot by cold-calling crooks who told him his pension could be unlocked early.

The tragedy was announced as part of an anti-[ension fraud campaign being run by HM Revenue and Customs, the Pensions Regulator and the police. According to the victim’s heartbroken mother, the deal offered was £17,000 after the fraudsters’ fees were paid, but her son never received any money and killed himself when he realised he’d been duped.

The joint campaign is publicising the methods used by pension liberation fraudsters preying on uninformed pension savers both in the UK and in offshore expat communities. Websites offering the service but failing to give full details, addresses or phone numbers of advisors are springing up across the internet, with many aiming solely at expats.

Put simply, pension liberation gives access to retirement savings for those under 55 years of age. The scheme is legal, but requires a 55 per cent payment of tax to HMRC on the full amount withdrawn, a fact that is rarely mentioned by scammers.

Estimates of total amounts reported as lost to fraudulent FAs working the scams come at around £500 million. However, the figure may be far higher as many victims are too embarrassed to report their losses, or may be living overseas and have no legal recourse.

According to the UK Pensions Regulator, the crooks behind the scams are extremely plausible, and neglect to inform the victim of charges and tax liability involved. In addition, clients are often promised far more than they actually receive and many receive nothing as their so-called advisors have disappeared after placing the cash in untraceable offshore accounts.

Retirement savers with pension pots are warned to watch out for cold-callers, texts, emails and websites offering ‘free’ pension reviews. High yield investments located overseas and ‘government endorsed’ schemes are also key signs of pension liberation fraudster activity.
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