'Absolutely terrifying': Martin Lewis issues warning after deep fake video of him appears online

Finance expert Martin Lewis has issued a warning after a fake video of him is being used by scammers online, ITV News Correspondent Sejal Karia reports

Martin Lewis has warned people not to fall victim to a scam artificial intelligence (AI) generated video which appears to show him endorsing a fake investment project from Elon Musk.

The MoneySavingExpert founder said the video was "frightening" and urged the government to take immediate action to regulate so-called 'deepfake' media.

A clip shared to Twitter of the scam, shows a deepfake of Mr Lewis next to a picture of Mr Musk, the owner of Twitter and SpaceX.

The scam video shows a deepfake of Martin Lewis appearing to endorse the 'great investment opportunities' of a fake project linked to Elon Musk (Credit: Twitter/@t0uchscreenguru)

"Elon Musk presented his new project in which he has already invested more than $3bn (£2.4bn)," the deepfake of Mr Lewis says.

"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, we think it's safe to say that the experience is legitimate."

Responding to the video on Twitter, Mr Lewis wrote: "WARNING. THIS IS A SCAM BY CRIMINALS TRYING TO STEAL MONEY. PLS SHARE.

"This is frightening, it's the first deep fake video scam I've seen with me in it. Govt & regulators must step up to stop big tech publishing such dangerous fakes. People'll lose money and it'll ruin lives."

Speaking to ITV's Good Morning Britain, Mr Lewis said: "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 in. It's an absolutely terrifying development. This is still only early stages of the technology and they are only going to get better."

Currently, it is not clear where the video originated from, but several users said they found it on Facebook.

In 2018, Mr Lewis launched a High Court battle against the social media platform, over claims it published scam adverts causing vulnerable people to hand over thousands of pounds to criminals.

He later dropped the case after Facebook, which is owned by Meta, agreed to donate £3m to Citizens Advice and set up a new scam advert prevention project.

"We still have an absolute Wildwest on social media and other big tech advertising platforms that allows scammers to get away with impunity," Mr Lewis added.

"And what I want everybody watching to remember [is] 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 deep-fake videos that are really plausible."

Meta is working with Stop Scams UK to help victims and remove scams at the source, as soon as it becomes aware of them.

The multinational tech giant said scammers are increasingly using sophisticated methods to defraud people, which it regards as an industry-wide issue.

A spokeswoman for the group said: "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."

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know...