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How to make sure you and your pension don’t end up in the hands of fraudsters

It is a sad fact that may people are currently losing all of their pension fund as a result of fraudsters. To stay safe you need to use an FCA regulated company - like ours.

But even if you don’t want to use us, please follow the simple steps below to make sure you don’t lose your pension fund. How do you make sure your pension fund remains safe and most importantly remains yours?

You have no doubt come across many stories in the press, and on radio and TV, about pension fraudsters offering customers such things as free pension reviews and the ability to release money from their pension fund before the age of 55. While the customer may see a token amount of money returned to them to allay their suspicions, the long term consequence of this action is that someone walks away with the lion’s share of their pension fund.

We have just had to break the sad news to a customer that rather than having a pension fund of £35,000, it has all been taken by crooks and therefore they have absolutely nothing !!

It isn’t just a risk for the under 55s. The over 55s who can legally take a lump sum from their pension are also targets for the fraudsters. Many customers like to make their own financial decisions and feel they can get the service they want, without paying for advice.

Therefore the question has to be, how you can differentiate between a legitimate fully regulated business such as ours, and a bunch of fraudsters ?

The good news is there are many common sense actions you can take, as well as some very simple checks to ensure you don’t give your hard earned money to undeserving, unregulated criminals.

Cold Calling

Any company that calls you out of the blue offering a free pension review or lump sums from your pension are unlikely to be legitimate.

While cold calling is not illegal, no reputable company is going to ring you up on the off chance that you might have a pension fund they can look after. It is almost impossible to think how a legal regulated company could make such a call without breaking the ‘advice’ rules of the regulator, The Financial Conduct Authority.

Don’t take their word for it

To make you believe that they are a legitimate business, the fraudsters create very convincing websites and documentation. Furthermore they may claim to be regulated themselves or that their pension scheme is registered with Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC). But how do you know if these statements are true ?

Many fraudsters also use the details of legitimate businesses, but alter the phone numbers and email addresses, so you may not be talking to who you think you are.

If you want to be 100% safe, then you should only use companies that are regulated by the FCA . The solution therefore is to check out the proposed business on the free FCA register and only use the telephone numbers, emails and addresses that appear for the company on the FCA register.

How to use the FCA register

The first thing you should do to check out the company you are thinking of using is look at their website and documentation. All legitimate companies will have all of the following information clearly visible:

  • The name of the company
  • The address of the company
  • Any trading style (business or website name) they are using  
  • A telephone number and contact email address
  • Most importantly - all of their material should include their FCA registration number.

Make a note of all of this information – if it is not all present – don’t use the company.

You now need to visit the Financial Services Register. VERY IMPORTANT, you should make your own independent visit to the FCA’s register. DO NOT follow any link offered by the provider’s website, it could be bogus.

We suggest that if you type ‘financial services register’ into a search engine, the first site presented will be the legitimate one. The correct address of the register is : www.fsa.gov.uk/register/home.do   We have removed the link so that we practice what we preach.

As a practical example, we will assume you are searching for this business ‘Best Pension Annuity’.

Once on the FCA site you should find a link for ‘financial services firm search’ – use this link.

You will now see a box for “Firm reference number”. Enter the reference number ‘227014’ that appears on our website and documents. When you click ‘Submit’  the register informs you that the number belongs to ‘Platinum Financial Consulting’. As you will see from the bottom of this web page, that is our company’s registered name. Best Pension Annuity is one of our trading styles. You can prove this by clicking the ‘Names’ link that appears in red at the top of the panel. This opens another page that shows our trading names, among which you will see the name – Best Pension Annuity.

So now you know that there is a legitimate regulated company called Platinum Financial Consulting who trade under the name “Best Pension Annuity”.

So how do you make sure you contact the legitimate company and not a clone ?

Before you leave our page on the FCA register, if you click the “Basic Details” link, you will be presented with our address and telephone and fax numbers, as well as an email address. This is the contact information the FCA use when they want to contact us – so why don’t you use it to.

This is a very quick and simple process and provides you with some assurance that the people you are dealing with are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority – Like us !!

 

By Bob Cook
Published : 4 June 2014
Nothing in this article should be taken as personal advice and recommendation. UK tax rates and pension legislation are liable to change and concepts, rates, legislation and rules referred to may not be current at the time you read this article.
 

 

 
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