Close to £400m lost to investment fraud in just over two years

Almost £400m has been lost to investment fraud since April 2016 as City regulators launch an advertising campaign to tackle pension scams.

Figures obtained by AJ Bell from City of London Police showed that £394m has been lost in just over two financial years.

More than £50m has already been lost this financial year, an increase in £20m for the same period in 2017.

It comes as the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and The Pensions Regulator (TPR) today launch a TV advertising campaign to raise awareness of pension scams.

Read more: Scammers target pensions of one in 10 people aged over-55

The regulators said that victims lost an average of £91,000 each in 2017 and warned scammers had become “highly sophisticated.”

The TV, radio and social media campaign will focus on the contrast between the impact on the victims of pension scams and the lifestyles enjoyed at their expense by the criminals.

Senior analyst at AJ Bell, Tom Selby, said: “Since April 2015, when the pension freedoms were introduced, fraud activity has increasingly and unsurprisingly targeted over 55s, often luring people to part with their retirement pot by promising huge returns over a short period of time."

Read more: The victims investment fraudsters target are rich and savvy

Selby said an imminent government ban on pensions cold-calling should mark “the start of the fightback against fraudsters” but feared more awareness was needed to protect people from scams.

He said: “Scammers can now target savers in all manner of ways, particularly through social media, and there is clearly a limit to what regulation and government intervention can achieve.

Executive director of enforcement and market oversight at FCA, Mark Steward, said: “The size of individual pension pots makes pensions savings an attractive target for fraudsters.

“Thats why were urging anyone who is thinking about transferring their pension to check who they are dealing with and only use firms authorised by the FCA.”

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