A fightback against pension scams

  • Over £30m has been scammed from people’s pension pots in the past 3 years. This number is only likely to increase
  • To help protect people, Help & Advice has developed a pension scam predictor tool
  • The tool allows an individual, looking to transfer their pension, to answer some very straight forward questions. The output then shows them the % likelihood of the pension transfer being a scam.
  • The tool we have developed is completely unique with its own algorithm. Nothing exists like this in the UK.


According to the Financial Conduct Authority over £30m has already been scammed out of peoples’ pensions in the past 3 years.

A key reason behind this is the pension freedoms that were introduced in 2015. These freedoms essentially gave people a lot more flexibility as to what they could do with their pension assets, particularly at retirement. Unfortunately, this has also caught the eye of pension scammers and people are being tricked out of their lifetime of pension savings.

According to the FCA, up to £500,000 has been scammed and the average profile of the person being scammed is male and in their 50’s.

What they are doing to help prevent people being scammed

The free pension scam predictor tool is there to help anyone that has been approached about transferring their pension to check the chances of them potentially being exposed to a scam.

By answering a series of questions the tool will give you a percentage likelihood score that you are being scammed, what the red flags were in the answers that were given, and what you should do if you suspect a scam.

The tool asks questions related to tactics that a pension scammer might use to coerce someone into transferring their pension. Specifically, we look at what process the advisor used to engage the individual, provide guidance on what tools someone can use on the net to check the validity of a business.

Examples of this are using Google Maps and the “Way Back Machine” on the Internet Archive. In addition, we are looking at language that the advisor might have used, and in particular trigger words and phrases, related to ‘guarantees’ and such like.

All the answers provided by the individual are assessed, using our scoring algorithm, to provide a score setting out the likelihood that they may be exposed to a scam.

How did the tool come about

James Lloyd, the co-founder of Help & Advice said that :

“the origins of the tool came about as we saw so much in the press, TV and radio about pension scams. Beginning to realise how sophisticated scammers were becoming, and then having investigated the ease of external support that was available, we thought a simple tool, that anyone could use, could be a great sense check before they proceed with a transfer. We knew that technology had to be answer, so we decided to build the scam predictor tool.

If we can help just one person avoid being scammed, we will be happy!”

Who should use it

James Lloyd, the co-founder of Help & Advice said that : –

“With the obvious exception of individuals, the tool has been designed with Trustees and employers in mind. Everyone is conscious about pension scams and ensuring their pension scheme members are making responsible decisions.

Therefore, we wanted to provide Employers and Trustees with access to a free tool they could direct their members to use, and sense check the decision they are making. In our view it helps add another layer of risk protection for Trustees, the employer and of course the member.”