Martin Lewis issues warning over ‘disgraceful’ deepfake scam online

Martin Lewis issues warning over ‘disgraceful’ deepfake scam online
Martin Lewis warns of 'dangerous deepfake' video scam impersonating him

Money expert Martin Lewis has issued a warning over a "disgraceful" deepfake scam advert circulating online, which he said will lead vulnerable people to lose money and ruin lives.

Lewis said people are using technology to “pervert and destroy” his reputation in order to scam people online.

The advert, which reportedly circulated on Facebook, appears to show Mr Lewis endorsing an Elon Musk-backed investment scheme through a video at his home.

“Musk’s new project opens up new opportunities for British citizens. No project has ever given such opportunities to residents of the country”, the fake Mr Lewis says in the footage.

But the clip is AI-generated, using deepfake technology to replicate the expert’s face and voice using existing video and sound, making it appear realistic.

“It’s pretty frightening,” Mr Lewis told the BBC.

“These people are trying to pervert and destroy my reputation in order to steal money off vulnerable people, and frankly, it is disgraceful, and people are going to lose money and people’s mental health are going to be affected.”

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He said it was the first time he has been used in this sort of video scam.

Mr Lewis, who founded Money Saving Expert and has around 2.3 million followers on Twitter, said more needs to be done to regulate scam adverts and protect victims of financial crimes.

“Vulnerable people and many non-vulnerable people are being scammed in this country and nothing is being done about it”, he said.

He said there are no “proper” fines for big tech firms who get paid to publish criminal adverts.

Meta, which owns Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, is working with Stop Scams UK to help victims and remove scams at the source, as soon as it becomes aware of them.

The multinational tech giant said scammers are increasingly using sophisticated methods to defraud people, which it regards as an industry-wide issue.

Meta told the PA news agency that it removed the Martin Lewis video from its platforms.

A spokeswoman for the group said: “We don’t allow this kind of advert on our platforms and the original video was proactively removed by our teams, we also removed a number of copycat adverts using the same imagery.”

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