The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has issued a warning about a “clone firm” that’s trying to pass itself off as Martin Lewis’s website moneysavingexpert.com.
The clone firm in question, which brands itself as Money Saving Expert, is not authorised or registered by the FCA but has been targeting people in the UK as part of an ongoing scam.
The fraudsters involved are claiming to be working for moneysavingexpert.com, the authorised firm, and are sending emails to people that are said to contain details of savings accounts with attractive rates designed to encourage people to sign up.
To make the emails even more convincing, scammers who use the clone firm tactic will also mix in real information, such as the real company’s firm reference number (FRN).
The FCA has highlighted two email addresses that the scammers are currently using – email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org – but has said that they may also switch to other emails, phone numbers and physical addresses.
The regulator has advised that people should always check whether a firm is authorised by searching on the Financial Services Register.
But actually, in the case of cloned firms, if they are indeed mixing false and real information, it may be more prudent to go directly to the real firm’s website to see whether the same information is available there.
It’s not the first time Martin Lewis has been used by scammers.
Last year, the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) also warned about several investment scams involving celebrity endorsements, with Martin Lewis’s likeness among those being used.