Beware of scam PPI letter which claims to be from MoneySavingExpert
MoneySavingExpert.com is warning users to beware of a scam letter which claims to be from us and tells people they're owed money as part of a PPI reclaim. Here's what happened when we turned the tables and called one of the contact numbers on the letter.
A user forwarded us the letter they'd been sent, which claimed to be from MoneySavingExpert, and said there was £12,128 ready for them to reclaim. The letter said that 'Money Saving Expert' was based at 102 Petty France, Westminster – the home of Government departments and public agencies including the Ministry of Justice – and contained three phone numbers.
When we called one of the numbers on the letter, the person who answered continued to insist they worked for MoneySavingExpert – even when we told them where we were calling from. When asked, they initially confirmed that they were the "Martin Lewis site", before going on to claim that they'd misheard our question when we revealed who we were.
Make no mistake, MoneySavingExpert never, ever, EVER cold calls people or knocks on doors for any reason, and we would never give a claims management firm permission to use our name. We've championed reclaiming PPI for free.
What does the letter say?
A MoneySaver received the letter below 10 days ago, and contacted us to ask if it was genuine.
There are plenty of tell-tale signs that it isn't, including the address, several grammatical errors, that the letter is dated 17 August 2019, and there's a reference to the 'FDA' setting a PPI deadline of 29 August 2019.
This is a genuine deadline for PPI reclaims, but the FDA is commonly known to be the Food and Drug Administration in the United States, rather the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), which the scammers were presumably trying to refer to.
The letter can be seen below:
What happened when we called the scammers...
Our reporter, Callum, called one of the numbers on the letter, and asked if he was speaking to someone at MoneySavingExpert. The person who answered said: "Yes, MoneySavingExpert, how can I help?"
When our reporter asked if this was the MoneySavingExpert associated with Martin Lewis, the call handler replied "that's correct sir".
After being cut off a couple of times, our reporter got a call back, and then revealed he worked for MoneySavingExpert.com. The caller seemed dumbfounded, and said: "Are you from MoneySavingExpert?"
They then chose to double down on the claims, and insisted their organisation was based on the seventh floor of 102 Petty France – which is a Government and public agencies building.
When questioned on the incorrect claims in the letter, such as the statement that the 'FDA' – presumably a misspelling of the FCA – had set the PPI deadline, the scammer tried to explain what PPI was, and how claims management companies work.
But they claimed they hadn't heard our reporter properly when asked why they said they worked with Martin Lewis.
When we called the same number to give a right of reply to this story, the person who answered declined to comment. They then proceeded to insist they are from MoneySavingExpert.
What are we doing about the letters?
We've let both the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and Action Fraud know about the letters.
The FCA has previously warned about a MoneySavingExpert.com "clone firm", which was using one of the three phone numbers listed on the letter. It's now updated its guidance on the clone firm, to warn people of the other numbers it's using.
Any claims management company with customers in Great Britain must have permission to carry out regulated activities by the FCA, but there's no claims management firm called Money Saving Expert registered or authorised by the FCA.
We've asked Action Fraud if it can take down the numbers, and it said that once reported, numbers could be removed if there were 'viable lines of enquiry'. We've reported the scam, so we hope they'll soon be removed.
If you've been contacted by a scammer pretending to be from MoneySavingExpert.com, please let us know as soon as possible at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This isn't the first time we've called back PPI scammers – last year, we called the PPI fraudsters who were cold calling people and pretending to be us.
In 2011, Martin launched a successful lawsuit against 'Money Claiming Experts', a claims-handling company that cold called people – it lost a High Court battle for infringing the 'Money Saving Expert' trademark.
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