Scammers are charging employer £58 a time for fake certificates that suggest they do not have workplace pension duties, The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has confirmed.
The regulator says it is investigating at least one company offering what it describes as “Certificates of Auto Enrolment Exemption” to employers.
TPR says several employers have been persuaded to pay for the documents which scammers claim means holders do not have any workplace pension duties.
TPR is stressing that these certificates are worthless and will not be accepted by TPR as evidence of automatic enrolment exemption.
TPR says there is no evidence that employers are buying the fake documents with the intention of committing any offences, but says employers who have failed to comply with their duties because they believe the documents give them an exemption leave themselves open to being fined, and may be committing an offence.
Anyone who is offered the chance to buy a certificate of exemption or any similar sounding document is being urged to decline and contact TPR immediately.
Over the next six months up to a further 500,000 small and micro employers will have to become compliant before their deadlines arrive.
TPR director of auto-enrolment Darren Ryder says: “Most independent advisers offer legitimate services that assist employers with their workplace pension duties. Nevertheless, employers need to take care when they are seeking help or advice about what they need to do about automatic enrolment.
“We will work to root out the small number of organisations that are looking to prey on hard-working employers, abusing their trust and tricking them out of their money.”