The government has unveiled a new ban on pensions cold-calling, in order to protect savers from being targeted by ‘unscrupulous pension scammers’.
In addition to a ban on pensions cold calls, the government will also put in place measures to prohibit the sending of unsolicited pensions-related texts and emails.
HMRC intends to tighten up the rules in order to prevent scammers from targeting savers with fraudulent pension schemes. It will also ensure that only active companies producing regular and up-to-date accounts can register pension schemes.
Firms making cold calls without prior customer consent and businesses making calls to individuals with whom they do not have an existing relationship will incur fines of up to £500,000.
The announcement of the ban on pensions cold-calling comes as newly-published figures have revealed that nearly £5 million was stolen from savers by pensions scammers during the first five months of 2017. An estimated £43 million in pension savings has been stolen by criminals since April 2014.
Commenting on the ban, Guy Opperman, Minister for Pensions and Financial Inclusion, said: ‘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.’
The ban will be enforced by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) once it comes into effect. Legislation in regard to the ban will be introduced ‘when parliamentary time allows’.