Boris Johnson issued a stark warning to pensioners today as the Prime Minister acknowledged widespread fraud problems. During Prime Minister’s Questions, Boris was pushed on pension problems by Stephen Timms, the chair of the Work and Pensions Select Committee.
In a joint ministerial response from Oliver Dowden and Priti Patel, the following details were laid out for the next steps: “The development of the online harms regime represents an important step in the UK’s strategy to create a coherent and pro-innovation framework for the governance of digital technologies.
“Proportionate and risk-based regulatory interventions, underpinned by strong institutions, will build user confidence in the digital economy and drive economic growth.
“The proposed regime also highlights that online safety is a shared responsibility between government, users and companies.
“It is critical to ensure that users can make informed decisions and have tools available to them to manage their online experience.
“The consultation highlighted the urgent need for action to protect users, particularly children, from significant harm.
“Companies and user groups welcomed the government’s intention to provide regulatory clarity and certainty.
“The responses to the consultation also emphasised the need to ensure that the scope of the regulatory framework is tightly defined and that it includes strong safeguards for users’ rights online.
“The further details and changes to the policy position set out in this document reflect the feedback that the Governmenthas received since the publication of the Online Harms White Paper in April 2019.
“The Online Safety Bill, which will give effect to the regulatory framework outlined in this document, will be ready in 2021.”
Until further details are released, retirees can turn to the likes of Citizens Advice and Pension Wise for assistance on how to spot and handle pension scams.
Additionally, the Money Advice Service warns people should look out for the following red flags:
- “Unsolicited approaches by phone call, text message, email or in person. Since January 2019, there has been a ban on cold calling about pensions. This means you should not be contacted by any company about your pension unless you’ve asked them to.
- “When a firm doesn’t allow you to call it back.
- “Where you’re forced to make a quick decision, are pressured into doing so, or are encouraged to transfer your pension quickly and send documents by courier.
- “Contact details you are given, or on their website are only mobile phone numbers or a PO box address.
- “Claim they can help you or a relative unlock a pension before the age of 55, sometimes known as ‘pension liberation’ or ‘pension loans’. Only in very rare cases, such as very poor health, is this possible.
- “They say they know of tax loopholes or promise extra tax savings.
- “Offer high rates of return on your investment, but claim it is low risk.”
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Desley Sherwin, senior associate at Roythornes.