The Pensions Regulator (TPR) is investigating 21 pensions liberation cases, after the amount of money transferred through the scams doubled to £400m last year.
Only three cases have been announced publicly by TPR - the Ark Business Consulting schemes, the Hollywell Enterprises scheme and an alleged case in the Pennines and Mendip schemes, where action is continuing in the High Court.
Speaking at IFAonline's sister title Professional Pensions' administration forum, TPR case team leader Victoria Holmes said pensions liberation scams target a wide range of people including members struggling on bankruptcy lists.
Holmes warned tough economic times were playing a role in the increase, with members desperate to pay off debt or mortgages or having recently lost their job.
She said there was no particular trend in age groups, regions or the type of scheme the member has money in - ranging between defined contribution, defined benefit, public, private and personal pensions.
Holmes said trustees and administrators could play a key role in spotting pensions liberation cases and preventing transfers into suspicious schemes - at which point it is much harder to recoup members' funds.
In particular, Holmes warned administrators to be aware of warning signs, including a large number of requests coming in at once or pressure from members to transfer their money quickly.
She pointed to an increasing level of sophistication from the fraudsters who are targeting members via cold calls and texts.
Her comments come as the regulator prepares to launch a "hard-hitting" campaign tomorrow to illustrate the threat pensions liberation can pose to people's pensions.
TPR has teamed up with the Financial Services Authority, HM Revenue & Customs, and the Serious Fraud Office among others to launch the information campaign, carrying scorpion imagery.
It will include a warning insert for members who request a transfer, a detailed information leaflet for members and an action pack for professionals.
Holmes said the regulator would like to see the warning insert included in all transfer requests, but cannot mandate this unless the government legislates to give TPR more power.
The action pack for professionals will also include a check list for due diligence for trustees and administrators.
‘Important to have an anchor’
Report to be written by TPR
Lack of innovation for solutions
Some 2,000 consumers affected