Police issue warning over fake emails claiming to be from Martin Lewis after more than 1,000 reported in just three days
Consumers should watch out for fake emails regarding Bitcoin investments that claim to be from MoneySavingExpert.com founder Martin Lewis after more than 1,000 people reported receiving the scam emails in the space of just three days.
Action Fraud, which is run by the City of London Police, issued the warning on its Twitter channel today (Friday 22 April). The tweet came after it received 1,178 complaints in three days about the scam emails containing fake news articles, which link to websites designed to steal personal and financial information.
Here's a copy of the tweet sent by Action Fraud:
The emails contain fake news articles titled: "We are in a crisis: Follow this revolutionary way to survive financially". It encourages readers to follow links, and suggests people can make money through Bitcoin investment schemes supposedly backed by Martin.
But this email is fake, and the links in it lead to so-called 'phishing' websites designed to trick you into revealing your personal and financial details. If you receive this email, do not follow the links and instead report it to the National Cyber Security Centre. You can do so by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Be aware that MSE won't send out emails except our weekly newsletter or those you'd get if you're signed up to one of our services. We will never, EVER cold call. We're a consumer help website, here to fight your corner. We will never call you or send anyone to knock on your door.
If you're unsure, go directly to the MSE website – we always put the content there – and see our Stop scams guide for tips on how to protect yourself and your cash.
[Fake email title:] Martin Lewis: We are in a crisis: Follow this revolutionary way to survive financially
READ MORE [This links to phishing website]
[Fake email body:] We are in a crisis. The health panic is followed by an economic panic. People stop going out, stop shopping and dramatically reduce spending. This has an immediate impact on cashflow. Without cash, businesses go bust. Without cash, suppliers don't get paid and they in turn can't pay their creditors. The knock-on effect will be swift. Tax revenue will seize up. In addition, businesses without cash can't pay their employees who must be laid off. This exacerbates the slump.
Unfortunately, as cashflow dries up, those with cash will hoard it. Hoarding is the natural reaction to a panic - witness what is happening right now in supermarkets. The same will happen with cash. As more and more cash disappear from balance sheets, more and more cash will be hoarded.
So, what are the do's and don'ts in these difficult times? We consult with a great finances [sic*] expert Martin Lewis who recognizes [sic] the pivotal role of Economics [sic] in all of our daily lives and it is his aim to make the 'dismal science' as captivating and accessible as possible.
READ MORE [This links to phishing website]
[* 'Sic' indicates that the word or phrase is quoted exactly as it stands, even though it contains grammatical or spelling errors.]
Martin and other famous faces have campaigned heavily against their names being used to promote fraudulent activity
Martin's name and face is often wrongly used by fraudsters, and in November last year, Martin and 13 other celebrities – including Deborah Meaden and Sir Richard Branson – signed an open letter to Boris Johnson pleading with the Prime Minister to include paid-for scam advertising in the scope of the upcoming Online Safety Bill.
In March this year, it was confirmed that paid-for scam adverts would be included in the Government's Online Safety Bill, after months of campaigning by Martin, MSE, the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute and a host of other charities, agencies and trade bodies.
What to do if you're contacted by someone claiming to be us
If you've already responded to a scam, end all further communication immediately, call your bank directly, and report the scam to the police through Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040, or report a scam anonymously on its website.
If you wish to seek further advice, contact Citizens Advice Scam Action through its website, or call its online scams helpline on 0808 250 5050.
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