Why High-Net-Worth Individuals must be more mindful than ever about online scams...

Date Published: 12/08/2022 13:45

There have been an increasing number of online scams targeting high-net-worth (HNW) individuals. Future Life Wealth Management’s director of operations, Keeley Woodcock, continues to closely monitor this situation – and is encouraging all our clients to be extra vigilant…

WE are all living - and working - through an unprecedented chapter in history.

What's more, the repercussions of the Covid-19 crisis and war in Ukraine are clearly not going to abate any time soon.

Numerous unfavourable economic side-effects of the pandemic include issues with global supply chains and, more recently as the world tries to recover, sharply rising inflation and interest rates.

But there has also been a substantial increase in online fraud which I want to ensure that Future Life Wealth Management’s clients and friends are aware of.

Scams of all kinds have proliferated...

Romance scams, investment scams and impersonation scams all saw major increases.

The Guardian recently reported that during the pandemic, phishing attacks increased by 220% and that over £2.3bn was lost to fraud in a single year.

Even these numbers may be underestimated because victims of fraud are often unwilling to report or accept their losses - and men are less likely to do so than women or younger individuals.

We typically believe that those who are less financially sophisticated fall victim to frauds and schemes, although in reality the opposite is more likely to be true, which is alarming. 

According to an article by City AM last month, financial theft has affected over 75% of self-employed wealthy individuals costing victims an estimated £9,000 on average.

Self-employed high-net-worth (HNW) individuals, classified as those with assets worth more than £3m, are the most at risk, with 74% reporting being victim to a scam and 41% losing money.

A quarter of HNW individuals now consider cybercrime to be the most serious threat to their wealth.

Previously, this was ranked 4th after inflation, Covid and exchange rates.

So, what are the options?

It is quite simple to repeat clichés like “always be on guard” and “if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.”

But I do think that it's never been more imperative to have a strong password, rather than something that can easily be guessed.

In short, cybercrime is getting increasingly sophisticated - with criminals from all over the world targeting HNW individuals.

My personal view is that this is arising because HNW individuals, in particular, are frequently short of time...

Self-employed people don’t accumulate more than £3m in assets by taking it easy.

And they - like the rest of us - are also being targeted far more frequently.

As financial advisers, the team at Future Life Wealth Management are tremendously proud of the relationships we build with all our clients, some of whom are HNW individuals.  

Having an ongoing relationship with a well-established firm of financial planners is undoubtedly one approach to defend against fraud.

But as - previously stated - crime will always be with us, and scammers will always find new ways to take people's money.

Witness the recent increase in cryptocurrency fraud targeted at young people, for example.

Please rest assured that protecting our clients’ data and information is of the upmost importance to us.

In the months and years to come, Future Life Wealth Management will continue to monitor and implement any enhancements to our security protocols, where necessary, to provide our clients with the maximum protection against financial crime.

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