XPS take action as risks of scams increase amidst COVID-19

XPS Pensions Group (XPS) are taking action against the increased risk of scams since the Covid-19 outbreak by strengthening our services to protect pension scheme members. The current market and social situation have made pension members more vulnerable to scams and XPS are acting to support trustees, sponsors and members.

Industry bodies like Action Fraud have reported a 400% increase in Coronavirus-related fraud reports just in the month of March 2020. The structure of pension schemes means it takes longer for the effects of these increased scam activities to come to fruition but the Pensions Regulator has warned that pension scheme members are expected to be impacted. Yesterday the Regulator issued updated guidance for trustees, with a new template letter for members and urging schemes to follow the Pension Scams Industry Group Code of Good Practice.

XPS launched its Pension Scams Identification Service in 2015 in direct response to concerns around the increasing prevalence of pension scams. As the nature of scams over the last five years have developed and given the current surge in scams in general, XPS have launched its XPS Member Engagement Hub to ensure pension scheme members are protected and remain scam smart. XPS’ Member Engagement Hub is dedicated to helping pension schemes in three key areas: locating members, protecting members and communicating with members. The Hub builds on our proven processes to achieve high levels of engagement with members. It offers trustees and in-house administrators support in scam protection and access to its scams identification service. It can also be offered as part of an integrated or standalone service that includes:

  • increased telephone communication with members looking to transfer their pension
  • added additional questions to call scripts, specifically related to Covid-19 circumstances
  • additional wording in member communications highlighting the increase in scam activity and the red flags to be aware of; and
  • a new internal scam monitoring system, to share further intelligence on scam activities and identify current trends

Nicola Young, Senior Consultant at XPS Pensions Group said: “Trustees and the Regulator are quite rightly concerned about the impacts of Covid-19 on pension scheme members. We are continuing to see signs of possible scam activity and with members being at the heart of every pension scheme, a key priority is ensuring that all members are protected at this particularly vulnerable time. We, at XPS, took these heightened concerns on board by launching our Member Engagement Hub and bolstering our Pension Scams Identification Service to provide schemes with the peace of mind that their members will be better protected not only through this challenging time but for the future too. We have already supported on £860m of transfers protecting 4,000 pension members.”

Colin Miller, Partner and Director of the XPS Member Engagement Hub commented: “Since its launch in 2015, our Pension Scams Identification Service has been core to the XPS Group and remains a key service to our clients, especially in times of crisis. Our Member Engagement Hub is a dedicated service that supports pension scheme trustees and helps them to protect their members and communicate with them effectively and efficiently. With self-isolation and the impact of Covid-19 on markets, members are even more vulnerable to being targeted by scammers who are increasingly using social media as a channel to target victims. Now more than ever, it is vital that schemes are communicating with their members and ensuring they remain scam smart.”

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