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Pension scam

(22 Posts)
DuelingFanjo Wed 22-Jul-15 19:59:10

I received a letter today from my employee pension Sceme saying 'as requested we have sent details of your pension amounts to Unbiased Finance'

I have requested no such thing but apparently this company now have a 'transfer form' in their possession and presumably lots of info about me and my pension.

Am I being unreasonable to think my pension people should have contacted me BEFORE sending out a form to the company?

My pension people have put a handy leaflet in with their letter telling me how to spot a scam but I would have thought them sending out details of my pensions to companies which contacted like this is not good.

ThePinkOcelot Wed 22-Jul-15 20:02:30

Surely they should have had a signed consent form from you to release the info and as they didn't they shouldn't have. What do you think this company can do with your details?

shebird Wed 22-Jul-15 20:08:47

Your pension company should not disclose anything without your written authority. Your pension cannot be transferred to another provider without you signing a transfer authority form requesting them to do this. You should always seek proper advice before transferring a pension as valuable benefits may be lost.
This is either a terrible mix up or indeed a scam.
I suggest you contact your pension company immediately to get to the bottom of this.

DuelingFanjo Wed 22-Jul-15 20:36:51

I have emailed my concerns as it's out of work hours but will ring in the morning too.

I just feel miffed that I only know about it AFTER they have sent a form to the company.

Presumably they think they have received a request from me to do so.

NotSparta Wed 22-Jul-15 20:49:08

Used to work in pensions and to send your personal details plus your pension amounts to a third party without your permission is a big no no. Obviously!

Have you filled anything out online or spoken to anyone on the phone about your pension?

I'm guessing it's one of two situations:

1. Fraud by unbiased finance pretending to be you.
2. Your pension scheme administrators have seriously fucked up and and broken every rule in the data protection act.

We used to send details to both the financial advisors and the scheme member so a situation of fraud would be picked up. But we also rigorously checked an advisor had permission to request the details and if we weren't sure we didn't send it.

I would be phoning first thing tomorrow to ask them what the heck is going on! But as a pp said, they can't transfer any funds without proof of identity so don't stress too much about that.

DuelingFanjo Wed 22-Jul-15 20:56:33

I recently made enquiries about an old pension through a pension tracing service recommended as a reputable free service, they were really good and found out my old pension is in the pension protection fund thing as the company went into receivership (HMV) but that's all

DuelingFanjo Wed 22-Jul-15 21:15:33

These were the people I used here. I made sure I used a service that is recommended and they were helpful and didn't pressure me... Just did the job.

I have had no contact with 'unbiased finance' at all.

Definitely going to ring the pension people tomorrow. I,would,like to know why they have sent this company details of my pension amounts and why they sent them a form for me to sign to authorise a transfer of funds. What if they fake my signature?
The letter seems to say that all they require is a signature not proof of identity.

DuelingFanjo Wed 22-Jul-15 21:27:02

The actual wording of the letter was

'as requested, we have supplied Unbiased Finance with information about the transfer value of your deffered benefits within the new benefits sectio of the XXX Pension Scheme".

And

"we will only act on your signed acceptance of the transfer value on the 'request for a transfer payment' form, which we have sent to unbiased finance'...

Which I take to meant hat they had a request from unbiased finance and so just sent my info to them and then they also sent a 'request for a transfer payment' form to them rather than to me.

Does that sound like what they have done? I had to read the letter a few times to understand what they were talking about as it came out of the blue.

DuelingFanjo Wed 22-Jul-15 21:56:07

Hmmm, just searched my old messages and found this 'Pension Tracing Service.com is provided by Unbiased Finance Ltd, 131 Church Street, Staffordshire, ST4 1DB.' So there is a connection.

Why would they be asking for a 'transfer value quotation' ? My last contact with them was at the beginning of June.

RepeatAdNauseum Wed 22-Jul-15 22:02:08

If they were a pension tracing service, they may have just got in touch with any company holding a pension for you and requested data about how much etc? It could have just taken your pension firm some time to respond.

Or they could be planning either fraud or to hard sell you pension services. It's impossible to tell without a timeline really.

SpongeBobJudgeyPants Wed 22-Jul-15 22:04:27

That's actually in Stoke on Trent Fanjo. I have a phone no for them if you want it.

DuelingFanjo Wed 22-Jul-15 22:25:57

Thing is, I only asked them to trace the one pension. I gave them no details or authority to start looking at the pension for my current job so they must have used the letters of authority I signed, to start looking into the pension I now hold once they discovered my other pension was with the pension protection fund people.

At the very best they are just hoping to gain business by trying to convince me to transfer or at worst they are actively trying to scam me but they are a BBC recommended tracing service so it seems weird that they would.

Anyway - at least I know it's not completely without my involvement.
I have emailed them to ask them not to trace any pensions that I did not inform them of in my first enquiry as I have no need to trace a pension I already know the whereabouts of!

abigamarone Wed 22-Jul-15 22:28:48

How did you contact the pension tracing service? the first hits on google are private companies not affilitated with dwp and unbiased finance does do pension tracing.

TartinaTiara Wed 22-Jul-15 22:30:31

Hmm. Looks as though you've been persuaded to hand over your personal details and authority to share your information by this tracing service, who then obtain the details of your pensions so they can sell on your information to a financial advisor. Who may well be legitimate, but you've no guarantee of that. You've probably agreed to authorise your pension scheme to provide the details, but they shouldn't take it any further without your agreement.

You can probably expect to get eleventy million calls now though, from people wanting you to invest your pension fund in various dodgy schemes growing eucalyptus trees or renting storage pods.

NotSparta Wed 22-Jul-15 22:32:36

Well that's how they got your details. Did you say they could request pension information on your behalf? I guess you probably gave permission when you got them to trace.

It is still ok though. Just call your current scheme and let them know that you have no intention of transferring any time soon and to ignore requests from anyone who claims to act on your behalf.

I had a woman call me to say exactly this, she'd been bullied into giving her details to some dodgy company over the phone, and was having very sensible regrets. I just put a note on her file and we never sent any of her info out.

They can not transfer your pension without proof of identity, and if your current scheme do transfer it then they will have broken the law and you can and should complain.

shebird Wed 22-Jul-15 22:33:09

Sounds like this pensions tracing service, who you've now discovered to be Unbiased, have used the details you provided to contact any pension scheme in your name. When you signed up for this tracing service did it involve authorising the tracing company to obtain policy information?
If it did then obtaining a 'transfer value' would often form part of this information pack as this indicates the monetary value of the pension pot as well as any penalties for leaving.
I work in the industry and it would be highly unusual for a company to provide information without the authority to do so. You need to speak to both parties and confirm in writing that you do not want Unbiased to have anything to do with your pension.

shebird Wed 22-Jul-15 22:37:06

I also routinely deal with pension transfers and ID is not required. It is usually a signed transfer form from the policy holder and a form from the receiving company requesting the transfer.

TartinaTiara Wed 22-Jul-15 22:41:10

For what it's worth, you can find a link to the official pension tracing service on the money advice website - www.money advice service.org.uk - or the useful links section of the pensions regulator website. Both of those are government organisations so shouldn't link to any dodgy sites.

NotSparta Wed 22-Jul-15 22:47:58

Just looking on the pension tracing site and they ask for all your details, any info you know about your lost pension and details of any pensions you have and know about.

Step 3 on this page explains why they are now requesting the info from your pension provider www.pensiontracingservice.com/process

Agree with shebird that the request for the transfer value is something all advisors do, it tells them the value of the pot and usually give loads of info about how the benefits work so it's a useful document to request.

If you do decide to transfer, please don't go about it lightly. With all due respect I wouldn't trust someone who gave me free financial advice. Someone somewhere must be paying them so I would assume they have ulterior motives.

NotSparta Wed 22-Jul-15 22:50:47

shebird we requested ID as I worked on DB schemes and obviously the calculation of the transfer value is based on the member's age so you need it to be right.

Surprised you didn't need the ID for security purposes though.

DuelingFanjo Wed 22-Jul-15 23:02:43

'If you do decide to transfer'

I've never ad any intention to transfer out of my current pension.

I also didn't give them any information about my current pension or place of work. All I asked them to do was trace an old pension I had lost track of and I chose them because they were featured on a BBC financial program web page, where they were recommended as a company to use.

My intention was to find the old pension and get it transferred into my current one but as it turned out it is now non transferable as it's in the pension protection fund. So I said thank you very much, that's great, bye.

Only now it seems they are using the forms I filled in (letters of authority) to dig about in my current pension, the bastards.

Will be straight on the phone tomorrow. Thanks for all the advice smile

DuelingFanjo Wed 22-Jul-15 23:04:24

Have read step three now,mouses that is what they are doing.

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