A single text cost me my £45,000 pension

Pauline standing on a bridge over a river, lots of trees in the background, after a single text cost her a £45,000 pension

Looking back, I now know I should have been more cautious, says Pauline (Picture: Pauline Padden)

Unlocking my phone, I clicked on the text that had just come in from an unknown number. 

‘Do you have old frozen pensions? Would you like to transfer them into a high-return investment and receive an immediate cash gift?’

I must have re-read it 10 times over and even though it was unusual to get this kind of message about my pension out of the blue, all I felt was relief. It felt like a lifeline.

Looking back, of course, I now know I should have been more cautious.  

Had I ignored that text, just deleted it straight away, maybe none of this would have happened. 

But I didn’t do that. Instead I trusted that I was doing the right thing. And that’s how, in 2013 I had my full pension pot, a grand total of £45,000, stolen from me.  

I know what you’re thinking: Why would you trust someone you don’t know promising you something that sounds too good to be true? But it wasn’t as simple as that.   

Back then, life was busy, and I was under a lot of pressure financially.   

I was approaching my 50th birthday, working a full-time job as a nurse with the NHS and raising three teenage children.  

To make matters worse, my parents were seriously ill. My mum had recently been diagnosed with terminal heart failure with only weeks to live and my dad had Alzheimer’s.

So, to receive a message that was essentially offering me an immediate cash bonus to transfer my pension pots into a high-return investment seemed like the answer to my prayers.  

Some extra money – which would turn out to be £4,400 made up of two transfers – would allow me to take some time off work to care for my mum in her final weeks. 

Pauline gradually learned that the company she’d invested in didn’t exist (Picture: Pauline Padden)

Plus, the high-return investment promised to transform my retirement – I’d be able to reduce my hours sooner and ease myself out of work gradually.

Before I got carried away with myself though, I needed to know more. So I followed up with the ‘company’ that contacted me.

Speaking to ‘Tony’ over the phone I was immediately put at ease. ‘These pensions are clearly not working for you. You could get a good return for this money,’ he said.

When I asked questions, he didn’t hesitate to answer them and there was no vagueness in his responses. He seemed smart, genuine, and importantly, trustworthy. So that’s exactly what I did – I trusted him.   

In February 2013, two weeks after receiving the initial text, I transferred money from one of my workplace pensions into the scheme. It was easy enough to do, all I had to do was contact my two pension providers for the paperwork and I could send it on.

Low and behold, within a week I received a cheque as promised for £2,500 – 10% of my initial £25,000 transfer – …read more

Source:: Metro


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