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Failure to ban pensions scammers 'unacceptable' ex-minister says

Published 29/10/2016

Former pensions minister Baroness Altmann says she was repeatedly blocked from taking action against pensions scammers
Former pensions minister Baroness Altmann says she was repeatedly blocked from taking action against pensions scammers

A former government minister has said she was repeatedly blocked by officials when she tried to take action against cold-calling by scammers defrauding pensioners out of their life savings.

Baroness Altmann, who served as pensions minister under David Cameron, has said she repeatedly tried to ban cold-calling for pensions but was told it "wasn't possible", the Daily Telegraph reported.

The disclosure comes amid growing concern that criminals are taking advantage of pension freedoms introduced by former chancellor George Osborne to cheat the elderly out of their savings.

Lady Altmann said the failure to take action against the scammers was "unacceptable", according to the Telegraph.

"It's so important to help people before they have been scammed," she is quoted as saying.

"Once they have been scammed you don't get the money back. On every level the Government's approach needs to be to stop this happening. I think it is unacceptable to say we can't ban cold calling.

"I had several meetings with officials to try to see why we couldn't ban cold calling and also to see what we were doing to prevent people being scammed.

"The officials each time told me that banning cold calls either wasn't possible, or wouldn't be effective and each time I challenged their reasons they came up with others."

A Government spokesman said: "We are determined to tackle the scourge of nuisance calls, especially those of a fraudulent nature.

"We take the issue of pension scams, and the targeting of vulnerable people through cold calls, very seriously and are currently considering ways to protect consumers from pension scammers."

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