Telephone scammers seem to have become more active in recent weeks. They’ll call you telling you they are from your bank and that you’ve been the victim of a fraud then they’ll ask you to confirm lots of your personal information so that they can verify your details.
The best advice is simple advise and it doesn’t get much more simple than- Don’t tell them anything.
Don’t give away any unsolicited information over the phone. Be suspicious and check everything out.
“I got an email from my bank the other week with details of a new promotion they were running, similar to the Santander 123 account. you had to register with them in order to start accumulating points and there was a link on the email to allow you to register. There was something not quite right about the tone and wording of the email and that put me on high alert.”
I happened to be passing the bank later that day and when I went in to check it all out it turns out that it was a genuine email, and a genuine offer, and I was able to register and start to take part while I was in the branch.
So it was all much ado about nothing but always better to be safe than sorry I think. Always report any suspicious activity on your account or in emails from your bank and remember that they will never phone you out of the blue and ask for passwords or pin numbers. If you do get a call that you’re hot sure about then you should hang up and call your bank immediately with details of the call.
One of the founding members of the RTLcooperative is Fergus Muirhead. Those of you who know Fergus will be aware that as well as being passionate about piping he is also “On the money” when it comes to financial matters and planning for your retirement. He is one of Scotland’s leading financial advisers and as such, is regularly requested by the BBC and other TV Cos to provide comment and advice on a regular basis on TV and Radio.
He is more than happy to take questions from our members about their retirement planning or other financial concerns that may have occurred. He asks that you contact him in the first place with any general type questions through his Moneysucks.net website. Just drop him a line firstname.lastname@example.org but don’t be surprised if you then end up hearing him chatting about your type of concern on the Johnnie Beattie Radio Show or the afternoon news with Jackie Bird!
In his Moneysucks.net website this month he discusses the pension reforms published in the last budget back in April and subsequent changes. Pension reform has been the subject of much comment throughout the financial press ever since. He makes the point that:- The changes are complicated and are not quite as clear as was initially suggested so no question is too straightforward or simplistic to answer. It’s become clear, for example, that many people may have a bigger tax liability than they initially thought so it’s wise to check out exactly what tax you will have to pay before you take money out of your fund, since once it’s out it can’t go back in.
People have been asking about the ‘free’ information the Government is offering. I would suggest that you go to the Pension Wise site at www.pensionwise.gov.uk. There are full details on that site of the options available and how the recently introduced changes impact what you can now do with your pension pot. You can also call Pension Wise if you are looking for more information. You do have to be aware, however, that while they can give you general guidance and information on the new rules, they are not qualified to give you specific advice relating to your situation. They can’t, for example, tell you which option is best for you or advice you which products you should buy. For that you will need to talk to an Independent Financial Adviser, and you can find one who is suitably qualified and in your area at www.unbiased.co.uk .
The rules that came into force this month are in relation to the choices you have available with the money you have in a personal pension. These rules allow you to take the money in your pension fund whenever you like, without having to buy an annuity, or income, with your pension fund. If you have already ‘sold’ your pension funds in exchange for an income you are not likely to be impacted by these rules. You will, instead, be hoping that the Government delivers on its promise of extending the pension changes to people like you who are already in receipt of an income.
They have said that they will, although the details of how this will work are not clear yet. The thinking is that you will be able to carry out some sort of ‘reverse purchase’ where you sell your income back to someone in exchange for a lump sum. At this point it’s not clear who you will sell it to, whether it will be the company that you bought the annuity from or from one of a number of third parties that decide to become involved in this new market. It’s also not clear at this stage what value there will be for you in taking this course of action. It will require careful consideration that what you are doing is actually good value for money. There are likely to be lots of charges to the various parties involved so you will need to make sure that buying back your lump sum does make sense for you, and is more attractive than continuing to take a regular income.