MSE News

WARNING: Beware frightening new 'deepfake' Martin Lewis video scam promoting a fake 'Elon Musk investment' – it's not real

A frightening new scam video of founder Martin Lewis is circulating on social media, using artificial intelligence to mimic his face AND voice to purportedly promote an app associated with Tesla and Twitter owner Elon Musk. It is completely fake – Martin has nothing to do with it. 

The video shows what appears to be Martin sat in his office, discussing an investment in something called 'Quantum AI', labelled as 'Elon Musk's new project'. It is terrifyingly convincing, as the computer-generated impersonation of Martin uses his voice. It uses a caption with similar branding to ITV's This Morning, a show Martin regularly appears on.

It seems that the video first appeared on Facebook, and we've heard further reports of it circulating on Instagram. It was initially shared with Martin on Twitter. 

Martin is warning anyone that sees the video that it is an attempt by criminals to steal your money. 

A spokesperson for Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, told (MSE): "We don’t allow this kind of advert on our platforms and the original video was proactively removed by our teams. We also removed a number of copycat adverts using the same imagery."

We've also contacted Twitter to alert it to the scam, and to ask if Elon Musk has any association with Quantum AI. We'll update this story when we hear back.

Martin: 'We are in a dangerous, dystopian future – action is needed NOW to protect people from scam ads'

In an interview on ITV's Good Morning Britain on Friday 7 July, Martin expressed his frustration at the lack of progress from the Government and regulators on tackling scam ads, despite the immense harm they cause. Watch the full clip or read the transcript below.

Embedded YouTube Video
  • Prefer to read? Here's the full transcript of Martin's interview

    Good Morning Britain presenter Kate Garraway: "The scam clip currently circling online shows Martin Lewis apparently endorsing an investment scheme from Elon Musk. Before you take a look, we want to emphasise again, just hold in your mind, that this video is fake."

    The computer-generated FAKE Martin: "Elon Musk presented his new project in which he has already invested more than $3 billion. Musk's new project opens up great investment opportunities for British citizens. No project has ever given such opportunities to residents of the country. Given the interesting features of the app and having seen how it works."

    Kate Garraway: "Gosh, Martin, I mean, that is terrifying isn't it. It looks like you. It sounds like you. There's a little bit of sort of glitching there. But then very often that can happen when you're on a Zoom link..."

    Good Morning Britain presenter Ben Shephard: "It's buffering or whatever."

    Kate Garraway: "Absolutely terrifying."

    The real Martin: "Yeah, I'm even wearing, I think, the same shirt that I'm wearing today when the image is being taken from. This is a deepfake. I mean, they've put it together. We're not quite sure of the exact tech. This is going around on Facebook at the moment. And this, as far as I know, is the first deepfake scam advert that we've seen. It's certainly the first with me. It's an absolutely terrifying development.

    "This is still only early stages of the technology and they are only going to get better. Within a year or two there will clearly be the interview that we're doing now would be manipulated so that you would be asking questions and I would be answering questions about those fake adverts. That's the stage we're in.

    "Now what you have to look at and I am viscerally angry about this, people watching will know I've been campaigning for proper regulation of scam adverts for years. It was 2017 when they proliferated. It was 2018 when I sued Facebook. It was 2019 when I got a £3 million settlement to charity from Facebook.

    "It was also 2019 when we first heard of the Online Harms, now the Online Safety, Bill. That still has not been put into place, It's taken a long time to get there. It's being discussed. There's meant to be an online advertising program as well. We've done two consultations on that. We've heard nothing from the Government.

    "So we still have an absolute Wild West on social media and other big tech advertising platforms that allow scammers to get away with impunity. And what I want everybody watching to remember, every time you see one of those adverts, one of the big tech firms is being PAID to promote that advert.

    "And these destroy vulnerable people and many non-vulnerable people's lives. Once you get scammed, the impact on your mental health and self-esteem is huge with many people. And we are still, after all these years... How many times have I done this, been on this show talking about scam adverts trying to warn there's... 'no, I don't do adverts' – we're still having it. And now it's deepfake videos that are really plausible.

    "We are in a dangerous, dystopian future and nothing is being done to protect people. It's an absolute sham."

What does the Government say?

A Government spokesperson said: "Deepfake scams, which are fraudulent, will be caught by the Online Safety Bill's illegal content duties. Platforms will have to take preventative measures to prevent fraudulent content appearing on their platforms and swiftly remove if it does."

Alongside others, Martin and MSE successfully campaigned for the Online Safety Bill to include scam ads – but the Bill is yet to become law and it remains unclear when any new rules will come into force. We've been pushing for this to be a priority.

If you spot the fake Martin Lewis post, report it – here's how

Martin NEVER does adverts and NEVER promotes investments – anything you see suggesting otherwise is fraudulent and a scam.

If you see the post online, don't engage with it, as it may be trying to trick you into handing over information. Instead, report it so it can be taken down.

On Facebook, Instagram and Twitter

  1. In your feed, tap or click the three dot menu (…) next to the ad you want to report.
  2. Click 'Report ad' and then follow the on-screen instructions.

Think you've been scammed? Here's what to do

Take the following steps:

  • If you've already responded to a scam, end all communication immediately.
  • Call your bank directly and cancel any recurring payments – or, for speed and ease, you can call the 159 hotline.
  • Report the scam to the police through Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040, or report a scam anonymously on the Action Fraud website. If you're in Scotland, report a scam through Advice Direct Scotland on 0808 164 6000 or on the Advice Direct Scotland website. You can also report scams to Police Scotland on 101.
  • If you need more help, contact the Citizens Advice helpline on 0808 223 1133 or via its website.

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