The City of London Police has announced they have broken up a suspected organised crime gang. The gang are believed to have cold called and sent text messages to thousands people across the UK, allegedly offering illegal pension liberation schemes.
According to the City of London Police, three men were arrested on Wednesday morning when a call centre based in the city was raided.
During the raid on the call centre, which housed up to 40 employees, documents and computers were seized. Additional arrests were made in Cheshire, Ayr and Glasgow as the authorities continue their crackdown on pension liberation fraud.
Crackdown on pension liberation fraud
This is the first time the Police has launched a major investigation into pension liberation fraud. Experts are now urging the authorities to leave their mark with their first investigation, to deter any future fraudsters from taking advantage of unsuspecting investors. Many experts believe these arrests represent the tip of the iceberg, with many more frauds potentially to be uncovered in weeks and months to come.
Firms offering pension liberation have sprung up over the past year. Often preying on people in financial difficulties they promise people access to their pensions before the age of 55. Whilst for many people this may be tempting, it is in fact illegal and could have potentially dire financial consequences for those people who attempt it.
City of London Police Commander, Steve Head, said: “Pension liberation fraud is the new boiler room fraud phenomenon as fraudsters seek to exploit new opportunities thrown up by the changing economic climate.”
Head continued: “The promise of maximising returns on your pension savings may seem to make good financial sense but the reality is you could be falling into a terrible trap which has the potential to destroy your retirement.”
Pensions Minister, Steve Webb, said: “Pension liberation fraud is a crime and we along with the police and others across Government are cracking down on these schemes.”
The Pension Advisory service has worked in partnership with the Financial Services Authority, Her Majesties Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and the Serious Fraud Office (SF) to produce new guides to warn individuals of the potential dangers of attempting to access a pension fund early.
A copy of the guide can be downloaded by clicking here.
Pension providers are also said to be taking precautionary measures to avoid the problem, by delaying or blocking transfers to schemes which could possibly be used for pension liberation.
The Police are urging those who wish to report a suspected pension liberation scheme to do so, via this link.