Martin Lewis issues warning as more than £20m lost in celebrity profile scams

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Stars including Lewis himself, Taylor Swift, Elon Musk and Adele have become the most common profiles that are misused in scam adverts, analysis of Action Fraud data suggests.

MoneySavingExpert.com analysed data from Action Fraud, looking at how frequently public figures were mentioned in scams reported to it in 2022 and 2023.

The findings indicate that high-profile people from a range of sectors, including entertainment, business, politics and royalty, have had their names misused.

The King, Jeremy Clarkson and Rishi Sunak were among those to appear in the list compiled by MoneySavingExpert.

The website, founded by Mr Lewis, said the data it analysed is likely to be a drop in the ocean, as many people do not report scams to the police.

Martin Lewis issues warning over celebrity profile scams

Action Fraud supplied reported scam data based on a list of celebrities provided by MoneySavingExpert.com.

To generate that list, the website asked on social media for people to say who they had seen appear in scam ads.

Mr Lewis topped the list in the analysis of the most featured public figures mentioned in reports to Action Fraud.

MoneySavingExpert said Action Fraud data indicates victims have reported losing more than £20 million to scams misusing Mr Lewis’s profile in the past two years.

The biggest individual reported loss attributed to a scam featuring Mr Lewis was £500,000.

Mr Lewis said: “It’s likely that the criminals pumping out these scam ads effectively use their own in-house dark-web digital marketing teams, researching which celebrities and advert types get the best click-through rates, and honing the way they work to be able to attract more victims.

“Almost certainly they will be collecting data on each public figure’s power to draw people in and how many people who respond to a celeb in an advert then go through to part with the money.”

Mr Lewis added: “And if it’s an ad with me in, it’s always a scam, as I don’t do adverts. Topping this list is about the worst compliment I’ve ever had.”

He continued: “The new Government has promised to ensure that tech companies have a clear obligation, and a clear financial incentive, to work with banks to prevent scams, identify fraudulent transactions and support victims. We’ll be watching closely to see if it delivers.”

Claims about scandals involving a celebrity may also turn out to be scams. Website links connected to supposed scandals may take people to an investment scam.

What to do if you’ve been scammed

If someone believes they have been scammed, they should contact their bank and the police.

Many banks are taking part in a scheme that allows people to get in touch simply by dialling 159 if they receive suspect contact that could be a scam.

Those taking part in the 159 scheme include Monzo, Bank of Scotland, Barclays, Co-operative Bank, First Direct, Halifax, HSBC, Lloyds Bank, Metro Bank, Nationwide Building Society, NatWest, Royal Bank of Scotland, Santander, Starling, Tide, TSB and Ulster Bank.


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People in England, Wales and Northern Ireland can report a scam to the police by contacting Action Fraud. In Scotland, people can contact Police Scotland.

They could also contact the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) about an online scam, in addition to contacting the bank and the police.

If someone has paid by card, they could try to get their money back under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act (which can be used for credit card purchases in some cases) or they could try to claim their money back via the chargeback scheme.

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