Saltus: 41% of high-net-worth individuals have been a victim of financial crime – more than a third of whom were targeted in the past 6 months

by | Dec 12, 2023

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  • 41% of high-net-worth individuals have been a victim of financial crime – more than a third of whom were targeted in the past 6 months
  • On average, victims lost almost £13,000
  • Most common cons were online shopping scams, investment and pension scams, and phishing emails
  • 1 in 10 HNWI victims were tricked by a romance scam, losing almost £16,500 on average

New data from wealth manager Saltus reveals one in eight (16%) of wealthy individuals have been victims of financial crime in the past six months, losing an average of just under £13,000 each to scammers. 

The Saltus Wealth Index surveyed 2,000 people with assets of £250k+ and found that overall 41% of respondents have been a victim of financial crime over a third of whom were scammed in the last 6 months.

The most common way in which the wealthy were targeted was by online shopping scams with 24% of victims losing their money this way, followed by investment scams (20%), while one in seven (15%) fell victim to pension scams.


Preferring not to be named, one victim – a married man in his 30s from London – said the experience of being scammed out of more than £2,000 when purchasing online has knocked his confidence, he said: 

“I ordered an ornament from a new website. 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.”


Saltus’ study also found that the type of con that tricked victims out of the most money was ‘romance scams’, where victims are duped into sending money to someone with whom they believe they are in a genuine relationship. 

Of those who had been scammed, just under one in ten (9%) lost their money in a romance scam. On average, victims of this type of crime lost £16,493, but one in 50 lost more than £50,000.

One romance scam victim said he was duped by a woman who pretended to be someone else:


“She pretended to be a famous model and made me send her money for clothes and gifts.”

Women are targeted more, but men lost more

The research found that women are more likely to say they have been victims of a financial scam than men – 45% said yes compared to 40% of men. However, men who had been scammed lost more than female victims – £13,483 on average compared to £11,515.


Saltus’s research also found that self-employed respondents were more likely to have been scammed – 56% said they’d been victim to a financial crime, losing £312,682 compared to 38% of employed respondents, although the average lost by employed people was slightly higher at £13,206.

The data also revealed that the higher the net worth of the respondent, the more likely the respondent had been targeted. Amongst those with assets of between £250,000 and half a million pounds, 33% had been a victim, however, for those with assets of between £1 million and £2 million this increased to nearly 50% (48%). 

Furthermore, those with the most lost the most – victims with a net worth of £3million+ lost £23,563 on average – almost seven times more than victims with a net worth of less than £500,000 (£3,477).


Commenting on the data, 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.”


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