MARTIN Lewis and Deborah Meaden have urged Brits not to be taken in by crooks using their pictures to sell dodgy cryptocurrency investments.
In March, Action Fraud received 21 reports about the scams, with victims losing an eye-watering £34,000.
And many fraudulent websites are using pictures of the MoneySavingExpert and the Dragons’ Den star to pretend they endorse the investment in a bid to encourage potential victims to give up their cash.
Mr Lewis said: “I find it sickening that these people are leeching off the trust I’ve spent years building in order to target vulnerable people and attempt to steal their money.
“Let me be very plain – I never do adverts.
“If you see my picture in an advert on Facebook or anywhere else recommending products – be it Bitcoin, binary trading, PPI firms or anything else – they are nothing to do with me. Be very, very careful.”
The scam ads are placed on social media and other websites and use the celebs’ images to promote the fraudulent investments.
Clicking on the advert takes you to the fraudster’s website where the pictures are used again – along with fake quotes recommending that you invest in the scheme.
You might also be asked to input your contact details, which the fraudster will then use to phone you and try and persuade you to invest.
The Dragons’ Den star said: “With the growing sophistication of online fraud, it becomes increasingly important to carry out checks before parting with cash online.
How to protect yourself from scams
HERE are some tips from Action Fraud about how you can protect yourself from these type of scams.
Don’t assume it’s authentic – professional-looking websites, adverts or social media posts don’t indicate that an investment opportunity is genuine. Criminals can exploit the names of well-known brands or individuals to make their scams appear legitimate.
Don’t be rushed or pressured into making a decision – a genuine bank or financial organisation won’t force you to make a financial transaction on the spot. Always be wary if you’re pressured to invest quickly or promised returns that sound too good to be true.
Stay in control – avoid unsolicited investment offers, especially those over cold calls. If you’re thinking about making an investment, get impartial advice from an independent financial adviser – never use an adviser from the company that contacted you, as this may be part of the scam.
Every Report Matters – If you have been a victim of fraud or cyber crime, report it to Action Fraud or call 0300 123 2040.
“A quick Google search will often reveal the truth and all online advertising should be read set against the premise of ‘If it looks too good to be true then it probably is’!”
Mr Lewis has been fighting an ongoing battle with fraudsters and crooks using his images online to dupe Brits into parting with their hard-earned savings.
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In October, the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) banned three Facebook ads from two separate companies, one which offered financial advice and the other a PPI claims firm – all three used his face.
Earlier this year, he spoke to the Sun about his anger and frustration that his image was being used to scam people.
Even the city watchdog is concerned about the rise in these type of scams, with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) warning young Brits not to be taken in by dodgy investments that are advertised on social media.
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