Martin Lewis – he’s the money-man full of wisdom when it comes to saving cash, and someone we’ve all come to trust. But it seems that one con artist is looking to make a quick buck off of him, tricking unsuspecting customers with false adverts bearing his name and face online.
Martin himself appeared on Good Morning Britain a couple of months ago to berate the fake advertisements, which were seen on Facebook, and to make it clear that he is in no way involved.
Now he claims that Facebook are refusing to remove the ads which saw one man lose £19,000, after falling victim to the fraudster behind them. Martin ardently warned fans not to use anything that wasn’t his official website.
Three adverts have been removed after The Advertising Standards Authority banned them for misleading consumers. However Martin was very critical of how Facebook had handled the situation.
He said: “Be under no illusion the real problem here is Facebook. It accepts these adverts with seemingly no care, attention or quality threshold. It allows everyone and anyone, including criminal scammers from overseas, to advertise on its site.
“Then, even though it’s taking their shilling, it takes no responsibility, leaving the burden on someone like me whose image is being ripped off, or on vulnerable people being scammed, to fight it.”
Martin continued: “As Facebook isn’t an advertiser, the ASA can’t rule against it. There is a gap in the rules in this country. It’s about time Facebook took its duties as a paid publisher seriously and faced consequences, as so many times it has breached them. Yet for now, I want to spread the word that I don’t advertise financial products on Facebook and I don’t endorse anyone else’s adverts.
“So if you see my name or picture in a post, especially paid-for ones, be extremely wary – it’s at best a false endorsement and at worst a scam.”
In response a Facebook spokesperson said: “Adverts which are misleading, false or infringe on third-party rights are in violation of Facebook’s ads policies, and we remove them as soon as we become aware of them.
“The ads that were previously reported to us by Martin Lewis have been removed and the relevant accounts disabled. We clearly publish what advertising is and isn’t acceptable on Facebook through our advertising policies and we recently announced that we’re adding a further 3,000 extra people to our global team of reviewers to ensure we can respond to reports as quickly as possible.”
When Martin first warned people about the fake ads he explained that some people had already fallen victim to the scammers and lost thousands of pounds.
He shared th story of one man previously on Good Morning Britain. Martin said: “A man got in touch with me the other day – very angry with me because he’s lost £19,000 in it and he’s not the only one. When we try and shut it down on Facebook after a while they take it down and the next day a new ad pops up.
“It’s rife across the internet. I do not do Facebook adverts. If you see my face on these adverts it is a lie.”
And speaking about how upset he is personally about the deceptive scheme, he admitted, “These people are leeching off the trust I have spent my entire career building to try and con people and it is very upsetting.”
The money expert originally warned fans of the fraudulent activity on his Twitter, back in the middle of August.
He posted a tweet letting fans know he was going on holiday, but warning them to be vigilant in his absence. He wrote, “If you happen to see anyone asking if any of these many and myriad scam ads using my face is real, please help spread the word that they’re more bogus than Bill & Ted.”
Martin has also shared a warning video on his site, MoneySavingExpert, describing the ads.
He said, “Perhaps the most disgusting one is a cloud trading scheme that pretends I’ve invested half a million pounds into it and I’m saying it’s the best possible thing you can do with your money. It is a con. It is a scam.”