Five questions on: Annoying spam texts

There's a whole new world of pain arriving, as an army of pension scammers try to tempt you into cashing in your retirement savings

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Are you talking about those "Have you had an accident?" or "You can claim PPI" texts?

There's a whole new world of pain arriving, by phone as well as text. This time it's an army of pension scammers, aiming to tempt you into cashing in your retirement savings for some almost certainly dodgy "once in a lifetime" investment opportunity.

Who says this will happen?

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO). The watchdog warned this week that the new retirement freedom rules – which will give people aged 55 and over the right to take the cash out of their pension pot from 6 April – will lead to a spate of "snake oil salesmen" seeking to trick people out of their cash. It warned that unsolicited messages about the reforms could be the "next PPI", with people receiving spam communications urging them to take part in pension schemes.

Is it doing anything about it?

The ICO does take action against companies caught spamming people with annoying text messages. Last week, for instance, it raided a call centre in Hove that was believed to be using automatic dialling technology to make up to 6 million unsolicited calls a day about debt management or payment protection insurance.

What about spam pension texts?

This week it warned the Swansea-based call centre Help Direct UK to stop sending spam texts asking people if they want a review of their pension. The company sent 187,960 spam texts over nine months. "Not only were the public receiving text messages they hadn't signed up for, but the content was completely misleading," said Andy Curry at the ICO.

What should I do if I get a spam text?

Report it to your network operator be sending it on to 7726. The service is free of charge. Meanwhile the law is changing on 6 April to give the ICO more powers to clamp down on dodgy texters and cold callers.

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