The government has revealed the number of individuals charged relating to scams.
In a written response on the parliamentary website, the government revealed that since 2013 seven suspects had been charged or summonsed in relation to scams. This compares to 2,008 reports of scams made to Action Fraud.
In his response, David Freud, Conservative peer and minister of state for welfare reform, explained that the discrepancy was due to the fact several fraud reports often related to the same individual and that it took time for police investigations to develop from fraud reports.
The government was asked Tory peer and former pensions minister Ros Altmann how many people in the UK were victims of pension scams in 2014, 2015, and 2016 to date.
In his response Freud said: ‘The government takes the threat posed by scams very seriously and recognises that these can be complex and multifaceted, often spanning departmental and agency boundaries.’ However he also admitted that ‘the true extent of pension scams in the UK is unknown because many go un-reported.’
He said scams which are reported, including pension liberation reports, are collected and collated by the National Fraud Reporting Centre (also known as Action Fraud), within the City of London Police, which was established in 2013.
In 2014, of 911 reports, one suspect was charged or summonsed. In 2015 the number was six, out of 807 Action Fraud reports and in 2016 to date the number was zero, form 290 reports.
Project Bloom was also set up in 2013 to tackle pension liberation scams and other pension related scams. It is a joint venture between regulators and government departments and includes the National Crime Agency, police forces and Pension Wise.
Freud said the delay in getting information on scam can be due to the complexity of pension fraud investigations. Action Fraud would not know the outcome until the end of the court case.
He said the government expects the number of charges and summons to increase as outcome feedback from investigating police forces for pre 2014 reports is received and collated.
The issue of pensions scams is the subject of a petition on the parliamentary website calling to a band on cold calling relating to pensions reviews and investments. It was set up by Darren Cooke, director of Derbyshire-based Red Circle Financial Planning.
Today the Personal Finance Society leant its weight to the petition and its chief executive Keith Richards signed the petition.