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Don’t believe false ‘Martin Lewis’ viral scam warning about O2, Vodafone, GiffGaff, it’s nothing to do with him

Don’t believe false ‘Martin Lewis’ viral scam warning about O2, Vodafone, GiffGaff, it’s nothing to do with him

A post being widely shared on Facebook claims that MoneySavingExpert founder Martin Lewis and Action Fraud have warned of a new "sophisticated scam" involving fraudsters posing as O2, Vodafone and other mobile networks  - but Martin hasn't mentioned it and Action Fraud says it's nothing to do with it either.

The post, which appears to have gained traction over the weekend, states: "Straight from the City of London Police fraud team - Extremely sophisticated scam going about this week, involving all banks. You get a message saying a payment hasn’t been taken e.g O2, Vodafone, 3, Giff Gaff or EE and to click here. As soon as you touch it your money is gone." 

The message, which is also being shared on WhatsApp, says the scam was confirmed by Martin Lewis this morning, but Martin says he's not talked about it and Action Fraud - which is part of City of London Police and is the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime - says it has seen various versions of the post over the past few months, and has called them out as false.

What does the post say?

The Facebook post that is being shared online can be seen below, alongside a warning from Martin:

What should you do if you spot the post?

If you do see the post online being shared by someone, it's worth letting them know the scam isn't something Martin has warned of and that Action Fraud has advised the contents are false.

Those sharing the posts are likely only trying to help though and may not know the message is untrue, so of course, don't be aggressive.

If you do get a message similar to the one described in the post, don't engage with it, as it may be trying to trick you into handing over information. Make sure to report it to Action Fraud.

What is phishing?

Although this scam isn't something Martin or Action Fraud has warned about, it describes something that sounds like a type of "phishing" scam - many of these types of scam do exist.

Phishing is a type of spam email or text where scammers try to reel you in with the hope that you've got a connection to the company they're pretending to be from.

Most of us receive plenty of these messages each year, which often include phrases such as; "your bank security is broken, click here" or "we need your help to retrieve funds", or "your subscription's about to run out".

The emails or texts disguise attempts to steal your passwords, bank codes and money. Often they'll ask for bank or credit card details. Sometimes they'll ask you to (unknowingly) download viruses onto your computer. There'll be some sort of link. It often looks real.

When you click on it, it'll probably take you through to a professional-looking website – a mirror image of the real thing. You'll be invited to put your password in – at that stage, you'll be parting with your cash.

You can learn more about how to spot these in our 30+ Ways to Stop Scams guide.