The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Pensions Regulator (TPR) surveyed 2,012 adults aged 45-65 with a pension.
It found 42%, when presented with six scenarios, would be persuaded by at least one or more actions that could expose them to a scam.
According to FCA data, this equates to over five million people across the UK.
Government and regulator intervention
Tom Selby, senior analyst at AJ Bell, said: “While huge strides have been made in tackling pension and investment fraud recently, particularly when it comes to raising awareness among consumers, this research shows a worryingly large number of people are at risk of falling victim to common tactics used by fraudsters.
“Government, regulators and the wider pensions industry must not rest on their laurels when it comes to combating the scourge of scams.”
The Personal Finance Society added: “The regulators and government need to do more in both proactive policing as well as sign-posting the public to the right place and help them to differentiate between regulated and unregulated activities, suggesting that new legislation might also need to be introduced.”
This study comes days after the work and pensions select committee recommended that the FCA reviews its resources to deal with pension scams.
The joint survey also found 23% said they would engage with a cold call from a company asking to discuss their pension plans, despite the introduction of a cold-calling in January 2019.
The same number said that they would pursue an offer of high returns in either overseas properties, renewable energy bonds, forestry, storage units or biofuels.
Some 13% said they would chase an offer guaranteeing returns of 11% on their pension savings, while 10% said they would say yes to a free pension review from a company they have never dealt with before.
One in six (17%) 45-54-year-old pension savers said they would be interested in an offer from a company that claimed it could help them get early access to their pension.
Despite accessing your pension before 55 being likely to result in a large tax bill.
Selby added: “The ban on cold-calling introduced in January this year was a welcome step in the right direction, but it was never going to eliminate retirement fraud altogether.
“Scammers’ tactics are evolving all the time and increasingly we see complex schemes promoted online through social media.
“This virtual wild west is a natural home for fraudsters, with governments around the world struggling to create meaningful protections for consumers.
“Education about the dangers of scams and actions people can take to protect themselves is therefore absolutely critical.”
Kate Smith, head of pensions at Aegon, said: “This is a fresh warning that no one is immune from scammers. There’s no point dismissing this as an issue that only happens to other people, being duped by pension scammers can happen to anyone.
“Fraudsters are chameleon-like, resorting to whatever tactics gets them the results they want and they’re particularly good at playing with people’s emotions to trick them into parting with their hard-earned cash.”
Guy Opperman, minister for pensions and financial inclusion said: “Pensions are one of the largest and most important investments we’ll ever make and robbing someone of their retirement is nothing short of despicable.
“We know we can beat these callous crooks, because getting the message out there does work.
“Last year’s pension scams awareness campaign prevented hundreds of people from losing as much as £34m ($41.3m, €36.9m), and I’m backing this year’s effort to be bigger and better as we build a generation of savvy savers.”