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Cold-callers who attempt to scam people out of their retirement savings face fines of up to £500,000 under new legislation.

The crackdown will prevent fraudsters making unauthorised contact with savers over the phone, email and text as the government bids to end millions of cold calls made each year.

Ministers announced the move after revealing retirement savers lost almost £5 million through pension-related bogus calls in the first five months of 2017.

Actions include:

  • banning all cold calls (including emails and texts) in relation to pensions
  • tightening rules stopping scammers from opening fraudulent pension schemes
  • tougher action to prevent the transfer of cash from pension schemes to fake accounts.

The cold-calling ban will not form part of a second Finance Bill 2017, due for release in the coming months, so it is unclear when the ban will come into force.

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

“People’s savings are being targeted and stolen through elaborate hoaxes – leaving them with little opportunity to build up their savings again.

“If people have saved for a private pension, we want to protect them. This is the biggest lifesaving that individuals normally make over many years of hard work.

“By tackling these scammers, people should know that cold calling, apart from exceptional circumstances, is banned.”

Contact us for advice on protecting your savings.