With less than a week to go before new pension freedom rules are introduced, the Daily Mail has uncovered a scandal involving pension data.
Their investigation has found millions of people’s pensions data is being sold to fraudsters and cold calling firms.
Salary details, investment values and pension pot sizes are being sold in bundles of data, ready for fraudsters to exploit and for dodgy investment schemes to use as the basis for targeting victims.
With full access to pension pots available from 6th April, there are fears that this data could be used to scam pensioners.
According to reports in the press today, the Information Commissioner is investigating the claims, which he has described as “very serious”.
The Information Commissioner is also in touch with the Pensions Regulator, Financial Conduct Authority and police over the claims.
It appears that this personal finance and pension data has been collected using a variety of methods, possibly some illegally. We suspect that data firms are simply collating data from a variety of sources to build more complete profiles of pension pot owners, which are then sold to third parties.
This investigation highlights the importance of keeping your pension data safe.
Be very careful about who has access to data about your personal finances, pensions and investments.
Even giving away one piece of seemingly irrelevant data can expose you to the risk of fraud in the future if it can be combined with data about you gathered from other sources.
Say no to survey requests on the telephone, in magazines or on websites. If you have to share data to access resources, then consider submitting fake details so firms cannot build an accurate profile about your financial position.
If fraudsters have acquired your data and use it to approach you with the view to convincing you to invest your pension pot, hang up the phone.