Warning issued over celebrity scam ads as new data reveals most frequently misused star profiles

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The King, Adele and Elon Musk all commonly have their profiles misused in scam adverts. Martin Lewis tops the list of individuals with over £20 million lost to scams using his name in two years, according to Money Saving Expert.

Taylor Swift fans also targeted to the tune of £1 million by social media ticket scams, according to Lloyds Bank. The numbers are likely to greatly underestimate the true losses due to scams.

Charlene Young, AJ Bell pensions and savings expert, comments: “With over £1.17 billion stolen from the UK public last year, fraudsters are continuing to use the profile of people in the public eye to convince Brits to part with their hard-earned cash. 

 
 

“Action Fraud data shows ads are using celebrity pictures and names to falsely endorse cryptocurrency, investing and retirement planning schemes, often touted as a way to ‘get rich quick’.

“The list of people in the public eye includes music megastars, as well as royalty and the world’s richest man, Elon Musk. But it’s Money Saving Expert founder Martin Lewis who tops the list of mentions, with MSE estimating a staggering £20 million has been lost to scammers using his name or picture over the last two years, with the biggest individual reported loss attributed to a scam featuring Lewis being a staggering £500,000.

“Lewis has repeatedly confirmed he doesn’t advertise investment schemes, and even took defamation legal action against Facebook back in 2018 after over 1,000 adverts on the social networking site used his name or photo to falsely endorse various investment and cryptocurrency schemes. Facebook settled and agreed to donate £3 million to Citizens Advice anti-scams projects as well as set up a reporting tool.

 
 

“Sadly, even Action Fraud official figures are likely to grossly underestimate the true scale of the problem. As we know, people often feel embarrassed or ashamed of being defrauded and therefore don’t report it, while others assume that nothing can be done to get their money back.”

Here are four actions you can take to prevent being scammed, or if you think you’re a victim of fraud yourself:

  1. If something looks too good to be true, it probably is. If you are offered tickets on social media or an unofficial platform, you should pause and double check what you’re being told.
  2. Report scam adverts or contact out of the blue by dialling 159. This will put you in contact with a scheme supported by many of the major banks and building societies.
  3. Anyone who thinks they’ve fallen victim to a scam should contact their bank and the police, as well as Action Fraud.
  4. You might also be able to get money back under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act if you paid by credit card, or via the chargeback scheme for certain debit cards, but this is not always possible.

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