Pensions: Fraud:Written question - HL2155

Q
Asked on: 10 October 2016
Department for Work and Pensions
Pensions: Fraud
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many pension scams were (1) reported, and (2) stopped by official action, in each year from 2010 to 2016.
A
Answered by: Lord Freud
Answered on: 24 October 2016

The Government takes the threat posed by scams very seriously and recognises that these can be complex and multifaceted, often spanning departmental and agency boundaries. It is for this reason that the Government established Project Bloom, a multi-department, multi-agency group of officials to help co-ordinate action to tackle scams, monitor trends and share intelligence on emerging threats. Members include the National Crime Agency, police forces, Pension Wise, regulators and key Government departments.

Those scams which are reported, including Pension Liberation reports, are collected and collated by the National Fraud Reporting Centre (Action Fraud), within the City of London Police, which was established in 2013. However, the true extent of pension scams in the UK is unknown because many go un-reported.

The data on the number of reported scams will include those which have been reported over the past three years by individuals, pension providers, the Pensions Regulator or other agencies but, on which, Action Fraud has not yet received any feedback from the investigating police force, for example, a report on whether suspects have been charged or summonsed. This delay is due to the complexity of pension fraud investigations which can take several years to investigate. Action Fraud would not know the outcome until the end of the court case. Frequently, numerous fraud reports will relate to a single suspect.

The data on the number of reported scams also includes reports where organisations have taken action to prevent that fraud. Outcome feedback would only be received in respect of these reports if the Police became involved.

We expect the number of charges and summons to increase as outcome feedback from investigating police forces for pre 2014 reports is received and collated. The available data is provided in the table below:

Year

No. of Action Fraud Reports

Suspect charged / summonsed

2014

911

1

2015

807

6

2016 (to date)

290

0

Total:

2,008

7

Grouped Questions: HL2154

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