18th October 2013
A number of websites designed to deceive the public into losing much or all of their pension savings have been taken offline, after the National Crime Agency (NCA) alerted internet registries.
The ten websites were allegedly misrepresenting key facts about buying annuities with a view to committing pension liberation fraud, a crime thought to have cost the country more than half a billion pounds to date. They were set up to convince people to access part of their pension fund prior to retirement by transferring it into a new 'scheme'. In almost all cases this would also have landed the victims with tax charges exceeding 50% of their entire pension fund. Any money remaining in the fund would have been stolen as 'fees' by the fraudsters.
The NCA alerts detailed the misleading language used on the websites, which overtly contravened the domain registrars’ terms and conditions, enabling them to be taken down. Anyone now attempting to access these sites or ones with similar names will be automatically redirected to the Action Fraud website.
The domain owners were directed to a webpage explaining the action taken against them.
The NCA has been collaborating with the Serious Fraud Office, Department for Work and Pensions, The Pensions Regulator, The Pensions Advisory Service, Action Fraud, City of London Police, the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau, HMRC, The Information Commissioners Office and the Financial Conduct Authority to raise awareness of the problem, make arrests and disrupt illicit activity.
Anybody who suspects that they have been a victim of pension liberation fraud should all Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or use its online fraud reporting tool.