Warning about crooks pretending to be Martin Lewis to steal your data and cash

CONSUMERS are being warned about crooks pretending to be Martin Lewis and his site MoneySavingExpert to steal your data and cash.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has issued a warning after identifying a copycat firm using the money guru's name.

It's understood the clone firm sent emails claiming to be from Martin Lewis and MoneySavingExpert offering savings accounts with high interest rates.

The emails were sent from [email protected] and [email protected] – but MoneySavingExpert has confirmed they have nothing to do with them.

It added that it'd never cold-call customers, whether on the phone, by email or in person.

The financial regulator said fraudsters often pretend to be other well-known brands when contacting consumers out of the blue.

How to protect yourself from clone firms

BELOW are some tips from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) on how to protect yourself from clone firms.

  • Always remember: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Only deal with financial services firms authorised by the FCA – you can check the FS register to ensure they are.
  • To verify the identity of an authorised firm, ask for their FRN and contact details, but always call them back on the switchboard number given on the FS Register.
  • If there are no contact details on the FS Register, or the firm claims they are out of date, contact the FCA on on 0800 111 6768.
  • Access the FS register directly rather than through links in emails of a firm offering you services.

Crooks may also mix false details with some correct details of the actual firm they're pretending to be to trick customers.

Sharing the warning about the clone firm, Martin tweeted last night: "And yet the government still doesn't consider scams enough of an online harm to put in the new online harms bill.

"It's completely exasperating. Make big tech responsible for what it is paid to publish!"

The proposed bill – if passed into law – will give the communications regulator Ofcom powers to crack down on social media companies.

But it doesn't cover online scams or other financial fraud.

If you've received any emails from the above email addresses, you should avoid clicking on any links and delete them.

By giving away details for the fake saving accounts, you're putting both your personal data and money at risk.

Unauthorised firms also aren't covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, meaning you may be left of out pocket if things go wrong.

If you think you have been contacted by an unauthorised or clone firm, or have come across a scam, you should report it to the FCA online.

Alternatively, you can contact the FCA's consumer helpline on 0800 111 6768.

If you've fallen for the scam emails, contact your bank and report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or online.

We've rounded up tips to avoid clone firms above. You can also check out MoneySavingExpert's scam guide.

Martin Lewis has also warned drivers to urgently check if their photo licence needs renewing or risk a £1,000 fine.

Plus, he's also explained how to get up to £125 for free by switching banks.

Last week, the money guru also urged workers to claim up to £250 tax back for working from home due to Covid.

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