Cold calling continues to rise despite proposed ban

Added 30th January 2017

In spite of warnings from government and the pensions industry, 7% of UK adults said they had released some or all of their pension savings as cash after being cold contacted, research from Phoenix Group has found.

Cold calling continues to rise despite proposed ban

A quarter of UK adults have received unsolicited contact about their pension, two-thirds of whom had been contacted in the past six months.

Of those contacted, 14% said they had got in touch with the person or organisation. A further 15% said they had considered doing so.

Cold calling ban

The UK government proposed a crackdown on pension cold calling in November, which would ban all calls where a business has no existing relationship with an individual.

Despite describing the plan as a “golden opportunity”, Angela Brooks of Pension Life, called on the government to expand the plan to include other forms of communication, not just phone calls.

Myriad of methods

The most common method of being contacted was by telephone (59%), followed by email (25%), letter (20%), and text message (12%). Of the 2,002 respondents, some were contacted in more than one way.

Philip Kline, intelligence and investigations manager at Phoenix, said: “Fraudsters use a myriad of methods to reach and trick their victims, including face to face contact, online marketing, texting, social media and email.

“To properly tackle this and significantly reduce the amount of pensions-related fraud, Phoenix believes that the government’s proposal to ban pension cold calling should be extended to include all forms of electronic communications such as email and text messaging.”


When asked how they would report potentially fraudulent cold contact, 61% said that they wouldn’t report it, with over 70% saying this is because they didn’t know that they could or should report cold contacts officially.

Of those that said they would report it, reporting to their pension provider (14%), to Action Fraud (12%) and to Pension Wise (9%) were the most popular responses.

Kline said: “Fraud is growing in the pension industry and fraudsters’ methods are constantly evolving to take advantage of the new freedoms and economic trends to target pension savers. Phoenix further argues that reporting fraud needs to be simple, quick and easy, and that consumers should be given greater education on the risks of fraud to ensure that they are able to better protect themselves.”

To date, Phoenix said it has prevented around £30m ($37.6m, €35.2m) of potentially fraudulent pension transfers.

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About Author

Kirsten Hastings

Senior Reporter

Kirsten is a senior reporter for International Adviser, covering global news stories about the financial services industry. She joined Last Word Media in October 2015 after two years working as a reporter covering the staffing and recruitment industry. Kirsten has a Masters in Financial Journalism from the University of Stirling. 


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