DWP’s pension ‘statement season’ proposals could put over 10m Brits at risk of mail fraud

Ffion White

by , PR Manager

25 Nov 2021 /  

25
Nov 2021

Red postbox

New research from PensionBee finds that 10.6 million pension savers could be at risk of sensitive financial information ending up in the hands of fraudsters should the Pensions Minister’s plans for a ‘statement season’ go ahead.

Last month the Minister for Pensions and Financial Inclusion publicly announced his intention to legislate for a so-called ‘statement season’, which would see all savers receive their annual pension statement in the post at the same time in order to encourage a ‘national conversation’ in the pub. Industry representatives have criticised the proposal, citing call centre capacity issues, saver frustration and logistical challenges in the printing and posting of millions of statements in a short period of time. The Minister has called his own proposal “controversial” (1).

However, with pension scams on the increase, there’s a much bigger concern around mail fraud. In addition to the recent flurry of house move activity (2), with droves of city dwellers looking to move to rural regions free from the ties of office working (3), savers historically fail to update their addresses with their old providers. The negative impact of a concentrated burst of postal packs, is that scammers around the country could be poised to collect the many millions of incorrectly delivered pension statements. The results of this could be catastrophic for savers and their hard-earned savings.

According to PensionBee research, a third of pension savers (33%) believe that it doesn’t matter whether they inform their pension provider(s) of a change of address, as they will still be able to find and contact them. This belief could see a sharp increase in fraud with an estimated £64 billion in pension saving at risk due to out of date contact details.

Of the respondents surveyed by PensionBee, 40% shared that they had either moved since the pandemic, or were planning to move in the next year. Moving house and changing jobs are the most common reasons that savers lose track of their pension(s), either forgetting to update their contact details with their provider or losing their providers’ details themselves.

Romi Savova, CEO of PensionBee, commented: “While the Pensions Minister’s plans are well intentioned, little thought has been given to the grave risks this could pose to savers. Statement season or no statement season, the vast majority of pension providers still rely on post to communicate with their customers so it’s imperative that savers always ensure their contact details are up to date when they move house. Losing track of hard-earned savings can have a significant impact in later life, and could see millions of people working for far longer than they would otherwise need to, before they can afford to comfortably retire.”

Appendix

Table 1: Number of savers at risk of mail fraud

Number of workers in UK aged 16+ 32,416,000 (4)
Hadn’t thought of updating provider 33% (5)

Source: PensionBee, October 2021. 250 respondents. Numbers have been rounded.

Table 2: Pensions savings at risk

Number of workers in UK aged 16+ 32,416,000 (6)
Moved/moving home 40% (7)
At least one private/workplace pension 72 (8)
Hadn’t thought about updating provider/ ‘It’s on my to-do list’ 33% (9)
Average pension pot size £21,164
Estimate for total pension savings at risk of being lost £64,412,071,207

Table 3: Informing pension providers about changes of address

Have you contacted your pension provider(s) to tell them about your change of address? Proportion of respondents
Yes, I have updated my provider(s) with my new address 37%
I haven’t yet but I plan to as soon as I know my new address 28%
I haven’t yet, but it’s on my to do list 18%
I hadn’t thought about updating my new address with my pension provider(s) 15%
Others 2%

Source: PensionBee, October 2021. 250 respondents. Numbers have been rounded.

Table 4: Moving house during the pandemic

Are you currently planning to move house or have moved home recently? Proportion of respondents
No, I’m staying where I am for the foreseeable future 58%
Yes, I’m planning to move in the next year 25%
Yes, I’ve moved house since the pandemic 15%
Other 2%

Source: PensionBee, October 2021. 250 respondents. Numbers have been rounded.

Footnotes

  1. FTAdvisor
  2. The Guardian
  3. Gov.uk
  4. ONS
  5. PensionBee Research
  6. ONS
  7. PensionBee Research
  8. Ibid.
  9. Ibid.

Be pension confident!

Combine your old pension pots into one new online plan. It takes just 5 minutes to sign up.

Mobile PensionBee analytics chart Mobile PensionBee analytics chart
Mobile PensionBee analytics chart
Apple Store logo Google Store logo

Have a question?Call our UK team020 3457 8444

Monday-Friday: 9:30am-5pm