Five MILLION Britons are at risk of losing their pensions to heartless fraudsters, experts warn

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The pension nest eggs of about 5million Britons are at risk of being emptied by scammers, watchdogs have warned.

More than 40 per cent of 45- to 65-year-olds expose themselves to fraud by taking up tempting offers of free reviews or promises to boost retirement income, a survey by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Pensions Regulator found.

Last year, victims of pension scams lost an average of £82,000 each. 

The watchdogs found that those most vulnerable to scams were looking for quick ways to increase their income when they retire.

Almost a quarter of those surveyed said they would be tempted by offers of high returns in either overseas properties, renewable energy bonds, storage units or forestry, despite these investments being high risk and not suitable for pension savings. 

And 23 per cent said they would talk to a cold caller who asked them to discuss their pension plans. 

Furthermore, 7 per cent of pension savers said they would agree to a time-limited offer from a firm that demanded the paperwork be signed immediately if they sent a courier to their door.

The two watchdogs, which surveyed 2,000 people, have now joined forces to warn families about the importance of protecting life savings from fraudsters.

They advise that unexpected offers received by email, through social media or cold calls should be ignored, and being pressured into making fast decisions about their pension should ring warning bells that they are being scammed.

Pensions minister Guy Opperman said: ‘Last year’s pension scams awareness campaign prevented hundreds of people from losing as much as £34million, and I’m backing this year’s effort to be bigger and better as we build a generation of savvy savers.’

All companies authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority can be checked on its website, register.fca.org.uk, or by contacting the watchdog on 0800 111 6768.

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