One in eight HNWs affected by financial crime in past six months – Saltus

One in eight (16%) high net worth individuals (HNWs) have fallen victim to financial crime in the past six months, data from Saltus has revealed.

The Saltus Wealth Index surveyed 2,000 people with assets of over £250,000 and found that, overall, 41% of respondents had been a victim of financial crime.

The most common way in which the wealthy were targeted was by online shopping scams (24%), followed by investment scams (20%), and pension scams (15%).

One victim said the experience of being scammed out of more than £2,000 when purchasing online knocked his confidence.

He said: “I paid the whole sum but didn’t receive the item. The website also disappeared after some time. After that I lost trust in online purchasing.”

Another, who was caught up in an investment scam, said: “The scam involved me buying stock which wasn’t real. It made me feel useless and ashamed.”

The type of con that tricked victims out of the most money was a romance scam.

Just under one in 10 (9%) lost their money in a romance scam, losing an average of £16,493; however, one in 50 lost more than £50,000.

Women HNWs were more likely to say they have been victims of a financial crime than men – 45% compared with 40%, respectively.

However, male victims lost more than female victims, at £13,483 on average, compared with £11,515.

Self-employed HNWs were more likely to have been scammed – 56% said they’d been victim to a financial crime, losing £312,682, compared with 38% of employed respondents.

However, the average lost by employed people was slightly higher, at £13,206.

The higher the net worth of the respondent, the more likely they had been targeted.

Among those with assets of between £250,000 and £0.5m, 33% had been a victim; however, for those with assets of between £1m and £2m this increased to 48%.

Victims with a net worth of over £3m lost £23,563 on average – almost seven-times more than those with a net worth of less than £500,000 (£3,477).

Mike Stimpson, partner at Saltus, said: “We all know that professional advice can help you achieve your financial goals, but one of the lesser known – but hugely important – benefits of having a financial adviser is that they can also help protect you from falling victim to financial crime.

“Financial advisers know the markets, they know when something is too good to be true and they have your best interests at heart and, ultimately, this means they are your best line of defence when it comes to financial scams.”