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Remaining Vigilant during the Covid-19 pandemic

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These unprecedented times have enabled scammers to use COVID-19 as a hook to commit fraud and we are urging our clients to be vigilant and cautious.

It is expected that close to 2 million people face losing their job during the uncertainty of the Covid-19 pandemic and its aftermath. With more and more people worried about their future, scammers are on the rise to push pension movement. As many people struggle with the uncertainty of where their next pay-cheque might come from, people may look to their savings and in many cases, their pensions.

It is these moments of panic that scammers are relying on in their search for the most vulnerable to target, and at APJ we are urging all our clients to remain vigilant as this pandemic brings new and inexperienced circumstances

Too good to be true

On average hard-working Brits are losing £155,000 to unscrupulous adviser and at APJ, we predict that this number may rise due to scammers taking advantage of people’s vulnerability and emotions during the pandemic. We urge people to remain watchful of scams and scammers. It’s important to remember: if it’s too good to be true, it usually is.

It’s easy to think that you wouldn’t fall victim to a stranger touting too good to be true investment opportunities, but many Brits have invested huge amounts of money into Costa Rican ethical forestry schemes, hotel resorts in Cape Verde, sustainable eco oil schemes in Cambodia and more, after being approached by cold callers. With the pandemic on everyone’s mind, fraudsters are now attempting to lure victims with ‘healthcare opportunities’ and support for charities that cease to exist.

Taking your pension too early

Often, scammers will offer you the opportunity to access your pension before the age of 55, which, during the current financial climate, will seem very attractive to those who have been furloughed or worry about the risk of losing their job. However, the promise of money before retirement age is false (unless there are extreme mitigating circumstances such as terminal illness), and any “legal loopholes” that may be stated by scammers do not exist.

These scammers often use tactics such as the offer of free pension reviews and time pressure to trick people into transferring large sums of money into fraudulent or risky schemes for high commission fees. And, if you invest in overseas schemes, it can be difficult to get the money back. The end result is often losing your investment and receiving a huge tax bill from the HMRC.

Be cautious

With each new day, the pandemic is changing people’s lives at a rapid pace; scammers are using this to their advantage by putting pressure on victims to act now before it’s too late. To push victims into making a decision without checking the facts, many scammers and unscrupulous firms tell callers that the investment opportunities on offer are time-sensitive, or one-time-only offers.

Despite cold calls being banned in 2019, many scammers deceitfully get around the ban by setting up call centres overseas and calling from offshore accounts. It is therefore, very important to remain aware and observant that cold calls can still happen, and that scammers are still very much active.

In these times of uncertainty, it is more important than ever that people are extra vigilant to the pension scammers offering to release funds early from pensions.

If you have been victim to a scammer and want our help or just want to make a general enquiry. Get in touch with us today for a consultation or text CLAIM 60650. We are here to support you.