At the end of last year PensionBee set out to do something radical: to bring together brilliant minds from the UK’s most ambitious digital pension platforms in order to tackle the online problem of pension scams. We organised the first ever Pension Scams Hackathon, which challenged PensionBee, AgeWage, Smart Pension and Nutmeg to combine our skills and develop an online concept that raises awareness of pension scams in both an engaging and educational way.
Not only was the Hackathon a huge success, but over the past four months representatives from the four “pentechs” have continued to work together alongside our technology partner, JMAN Group, to turn the winning concept, Scam Man & Robbin’, into a reality…
Scam Man & Robbin’ is a five-minute online game that educates consumers about pension scams by casting the player in the role of ‘Scam Man’, a vigilante whose main objective is to protect people’s pensions from scams! Scam Man must correctly identify six of the most common pension scams by shining his torch on them to destroy them, as well as collecting six corresponding bonuses that can help protect savers’ pensions. The game challenges some common misconceptions which may initially seem positive about a pension scheme, such as guaranteed high returns or an offer of free advice, but may in fact be the hallmarks of a scam.
Inspired by one of the world’s most-loved superheroes, Scam Man & Robbin’, is designed for consumers of all ages and gamers and non-gamers alike, balancing educational scams content with a narrative that’s entertaining from start to finish. Visit scam-man.com to play and see how good you really are at spotting pension scams.
Why scam awareness is more important now than ever
Since we set out to create Scam Man & Robbin’, scams have been on the increase. In March, Action Fraud, the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime, announced that coronavirus-related fraud reports had increased by 400%. And earlier this month the National Cyber Security Centre revealed it had already taken down 2,000 online scams, including 200 phishing sites seeking personal information such as passwords or credit card details, and over 800 advance-fee frauds, where a large sum of money is promised in return for a set-up payment.
The number of pension scams has also soared since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, as opportunistic scammers attempt to exploit savers experiencing serious financial strain and looking to access their savings. Research from the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Pension Scams shows that with more people staying at home, in line with social distancing and lockdown restrictions, it’s much more likely that pension savers will be contacted by scammers via phone or online.
To help highlight the new risks that face pension savers, a coronavirus-specific scam has been included within Scam Man & Robbin’, warning consumers against moving a pension to a fund that guarantees coronavirus protection and high returns during periods of economic uncertainty. Other scams featured in the game include cold calls, early pension release and pressure to make an immediate decision.
The game serves to highlight scam warning signs and raise awareness that anyone can fall victim to a pension scam, regardless of age or level of savings. Scammers are increasingly sophisticated criminals and prey on savers who are simply seeking to make the most of their money in a confusing pensions world. In 2019 The Financial Conduct Authority and The Pensions Regulator released research showing that 42% of pension savers, (the equivalent of over 5 million Brits), could be at risk of falling for a scam. It estimated the average loss to be £82,000 per victim, which equates to around 22 years of pension savings. Pension scams are believed to have cost British savers £4 billion in 2018 alone.
Collaboration will be key to tackling pension scams
Scam Man & Robbin’ is proof that when the pensions industry joins forces and collaborates for the good of consumers, great things can happen. We’re proud to have successfully united some of the biggest innovators in pensions and are confident progress can be made if the sector can continue to come together to find innovative ways to raise awareness of the types of scams in operation today. The pensions industry is taking a stand, and playing the scammers at their own game!
To play Scam Man & Robbin’ visit scam-man.com, where you can also find out more information on the most common pension scams and how to protect yourself.
As always, we’d love to hear your feedback, so leave your comments below or get in touch with the team on Twitter!