Pension warning as man loses £25,000 in pension plan scam | Personal finance | Finance

All Kevin Proctor, 62, hoped to do when he got a call from Susan Dalton, 66, of Brookdale in Rochdale, Lancashire, in 2014, was earn some extra cash so he could enjoy a peaceful retirement by the sea with his wife. . He said Ms Dalton told him the scheme, from the fake company Regency Pensions, would offer him a safe investment with impressive returns, and Kevin would receive a tax-free £4,000 bonus if he joined the schemes.

Kevin said Ms. Dalton used terminology and jargon to explain in detail the type of investment that would be offered, the interest rate and the amount that Kevin could earn over the period of his investment.

Kevin said: “She sounded so professional and I believed her. What she was telling me sounded good and to be honest I just saw number signs in my eyes when she was speaking.

Ms. Dalton sent Kevin several official-looking documents to sign, asking him to provide signatures to confirm the transfer. They also wanted him to provide photo ID.

Before sending the papers, Kevin had a moment of doubt.

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He said: “They asked me not to tell anyone about the £4,000 gratuity payment. I thought that was a bit dodgy and asked them why. They told me it was a special one-time payment they made to their investors and they didn’t want others to know about it. »

Kevin ignored her concern as he had booked a vacation with his wife and was excited about the extra money to come just before. He then sent the documents and transferred £29,000 to Regency Pension.

After a few weeks, Kevin received his £4,000 gratitude payment, which he didn’t realize was just his money at the time, and moved on with his life.

A year later, Kevin received a letter from the company which claimed his investment had earned him £1,000 and he was delighted with the money coming in.

After another year, Kevin did not receive another update and when he called the company, the phone line was cut. He then tried to email Ms Dalton, but she was vague, telling Kevin that “she would look into it”.

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Another year passed and Kevin still had no further updates on his investment. He called back and the line was still disconnected, and then he got no response from Mrs. Dalton.

Kevin was starting to get suspicious and that’s when he called the pension regulator. After explaining his story, that’s when Kevin found out he had been scammed.

Suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) since the 1980s and struggling with anxiety and depression before, Kevin’s mental health began to deteriorate until he was admitted to hospital. for help after threatening to kill himself.

Kevin said: “I had a complete breakdown, I had no control over what I was thinking and it was scary. So I went to the hospital to talk to a psychiatrist and they told me that they sectioned people who thought they were a danger to themselves and with my state of mind at that time I was at risk.

Kevin also suffered from heart problems that required medical interventions.

The worry plaguing Kevin’s mind now is his single interest mortgage which was due to be paid off in 2026.

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He said: ‘Because I took out an interest only mortgage, there is no equity in the property.

“I still have to pay £60,000 in extra interest to pay off a secured loan, I still have around £100,000 on the mortgage. After all this we will have absolutely nothing and I care about it daily and have to block it.

The only thing Kevin is grateful for is that his wife ignored his suggestion to also place his retirement savings in the Regency Pension scheme.

He said: ‘She pushed me away when I mentioned it because she had contributed her pension for a long time and wanted to keep it where it was. I couldn’t imagine the situation we would be in now if she had listened to me.

Due to what happened, Kevin no longer expects a peaceful retirement saying “I will keep working until my body can’t anymore.”

Kevin said: “I was looking forward to turning 66, we were going to sell our house and move to the coast, we had all these plans for my retirement, but it’s all gone now.”

“I’m lucky though, others who lost money in this scam lost a lot more than me, so if I can be grateful for anything, I am.”

Ms Dalston and her partner Alan Barratt were jailed in April 2022 after pleading guilty to fraud by abuse of position arising from their roles as trustees of pension schemes.

The scammers, based in Spain, contacted hundreds of Britons and then stole more than £13million in pensions between 2012 and 2014.

Pension regulators recently published a report on the threat of pension scams.

He found that current trends show that investment crimes, of the type Kevin was involved in, were on the rise, with retirees more often targeted by social media than cold calls.

However, the pensions regulator said there were concerns the cold calling ban was circumvented by initial contact from outside the UK and references then passed on to advisers UK based.

Nicola Parish, Executive Director of Frontline Regulation at TPR, said: “Retirement scams ruin lives. Savers should always be careful when making the decision to transfer a pension pot that has taken a lifetime to build up and should first contact MoneyHelper, part of the Money and Pensions service, for impartial advice.

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