4 Biggest Finance Frauds of 2022

According to UK Finance, in just the first half of 2022, UK finance fraud stole £609.8 million. UK banks used their security systems to prevent an even further £584 million from being stolen.  

Becoming victim to finance fraud can happen to anyone or any organisation – fraudsters don’t discriminate.  

See the 4 biggest UK finance frauds of 2022, and how you can avoid them in 2023, here.  

Romance Fraud

Finance fraud isn’t always committed by a stranger on the other side of a screen. 

In November of this year, Emmanuel Scotts was convicted on four counts of Fraud by False Representation.  

Scotts pretended to be a successful stockbroker making high returns on investment, using multiple aliases to scam four female victims he met via an online dating agency. The total losses suffered by the victims amounted to £324,487 – money that went towards gambling instead of genuine investments.  

According to Action Fraud, romance fraud involves criminals becoming romantically involved with their victims to gain their trust and eliminate alarm bells when they request money.  

3 steps to protect yourself from romance fraud

  1. Profile photos aren’t always genuine: a fraudster may impersonate someone else, just as Scotts did, so carry out a reverse image search on your chosen search engine.  
  2. Know the signs: if someone is keen to move quickly, they isolate you from your support network, and make excuses as to why they need financial help. 
  3. Don’t reveal too much about yourself: NEVER share information which could aid someone in accessing your finances, including who you bank with. 

‘Get rich quick’ and crypto UK finance fraud

2022 was the year of crypto fraud. As reported by the Financial Times, the value of finance fraud committed via a cryptocurrency scheme increased by 32% this year, with the total coming to a massive £226 million.  

One of the UK’s most astounding finance frauds this year saw four individuals convicted of fraudulently obtaining and laundering Bitcoin and other forms of crypto as part of a wider scheme exploiting a loophole in crypto trading. 

They eventually obtained a total of £21 million.  

Action Fraud state that crypto fraud falls into a wider category of ‘get rich quick’ schemes. This can happen anywhere from social media to word of mouth. Crypto fraud largely sneaks under the radar, with some victims only realising they’ve been defrauded when it is too late. 

3 steps to protect yourself from crypto UK finance fraud

  1. Take your time: a genuine bank or financial organisation will not force you to hand over your money on the spot – don’t give in to pressure to invest. 
  2. Reclaim your control: don’t fall for uninvited investment offers. If you are thinking about making investments, take the initiative to speak to a professional at a certified finance firm. 
  3. Stick to your guns: don’t invest in ‘get rich quick’ schemes simply because others are. Investments should be individual to you, planned out, and risk assessed.  

Cyber-enabled finance fraud

 The Office for National Statistics (ONS) report that people are more likely to fall victim to fraud or cyber offences than any other crime.  

This year, a retired Chartered Accountant offered to organise his victim’s finances but instead took advantage of cyber techniques to defraud them of £300,000.   

Sukhdev Singh created documents on his computer to aid his fraudulent activity, including falsified agreements, letters, and impersonated consent from his victim. This made his finance fraud even more convincing, allowing him to obtain further assets.  

Cyber-enabled fraud is often committed by criminals who never meet their victim, though (as Singh perfectly demonstrates) this is not always the case.  

3 steps to protect yourself from cyber-enabled finance fraud 

  1. ALWAYS update: install the latest software and app updates on your digital devices. They aren’t just there to give your phone a makeover; they contain essential security updates which give you a layer of protection from cyber-enabled fraud. 
  2. Enable two factor authentication: this makes it harder for someone to gain access to your personal information.  
  3. Be smart: listen to your gut, and always get a second opinion.  

Pension Fraud

Growing your pension is a lengthy task. With the number of online searches looking for support after falling victim to pension fraud on the increase, it is essential to get clarity on your pension.  

In July of this year, Mark Kelly and Rikki Nicholls were convicted of conspiracy to defraud and money laundering. They persuaded their victims to sign application forms including blank sections which were later filled out by the fraudsters. 

Ultimately, the pair stole £20 million; causing most of their victims to lose their pensions entirely.  

3 steps to protect yourself from pension fraud

  1. Stay up to date: know your pension options, and research who you are dealing with before switching your pension agreements. You can do this here: FCA Register. 
  2. Be patient: don’t rush decisions about your pension. 
  3. Reject: say no to unexpected pensions opportunities, like free pension reviews.  

Have a chat with us 

If you are concerned about how finance fraud might affect you, and want to solve security issues or learn how to protect yourself, get in touch.  

Don’t wait for 2023, the sooner you crack down on your financial security, the better your position will be.  

Email hello@firstwealth.co.uk, book a video call, or phone us on 0207 467 2700. 


This document is marketing material for a retail audience and does not constitute advice or recommendations. Past performance is not a guide to future performance and may not be repeated. The value of investments and the income from them may go down as well as up and investors may not get back the amount originally invested.

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