Martin Lewis appeared clsoe to tears as he described how people were losing hundreds of thousands of pounds to online scammers.
The money saving expert described how fraudsters were using his reputation and image to dupe people into handing over their cash.
Speaking to Nihal Arthanayake on BBC’s 5live radio show, he said that more needed to be done to tackle financial crime, and that “fi nancial crime and fraud and scams are an unpunished crime in this country.”
He later apologised for ‘losing it’ during the interview.
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After explaining how scammers used fake online systems, and false initial successful investments to persuade people to plough more money into schemes, Mr Lewis emotionally described how people had turned against him due to fraudsters using his name.
He said: “ The first guy was a man who was very angry with me because I had promised it was a ‘no lose investment’ in an advert and he wanted his money back from me. When I told him it was a scam he didn’t believe me and called me a scammer.”
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He then got emotional, detailing a grandmother who had lost her grandchildren’s savings due to a scam.
Almost moved to tears he said: “The one that I struggle with most of all was the grandmother, whose grandchildren had lost their parents and the grandmother was responsible for. She had seen one of these adverts with me in it and she had put the money from the parents for the kids into the scam because she had trusted me and she lost those kids that money and she did it because she trusted me.”
He then explained that despite these instances occurring years before, not enough had been done to stop big technology companies from promoting such scams.
After taking some time to compose himself, the financial broadcaster then continued to explain why he believed not enough was being done by the government to crack down on such scams.
He said: “Financial crime and fraud and scams is an unpunished crime in this country, we very, very rarely track down the scammers. Fraud is the biggest single crime in this country and very few people are punished for scams in the UK. You can do it with impunity. One of the things we could do is deny the scammers the oxygen of publicity by making big tech responsible when they’re paid to publish ads and all I get is that “legal advice” says we can’t do it.”
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Nihal then went on to read out some reaction from social media, to which Martin said he had received a response referring to “idiots” who fall for such scams.
He explained that anybody could fall for such a scam: “The meaningful is we want to protect people who are unprotected, we don’t want to leave them out to dry for the scammers. But however you don’t need to have a vulnerability to fall for one of these scams, I mention they are psychologically adept, they are very clever.”
Martin, along with many other well-know faces, has signed an open letter to the chief Minister calling for the scams to be included in the Online Safety Bill.
As it stands, user-generated scams will be covered by the new bill, in addition as a wide range of areas such as terrorism and child sexual exploitation – but paid scam advertising will not characterize.
Martin has long campaigned against bogus ads using his confront to lure users, with people conned out of thousands of pounds by fraudsters using celebrity images.
Tweeting after the interview, Martin said: “Sorry for losing it a bit on @bbc5live just now. I got a bit shaky and emotional with the frustration of the situation. Thanks @TherealNihal for handling it brilliantly.”
But his followers were quickly supportive.
“Don’t apologise, it was powerful listening. Hang in there and keep up the fight. This activity has to stop. The responses you had so far are completely inadequate,” @robsmithrugby responded.
@Sukki1975 said: “Never apologise for being a caring human being.”
“Loved listening to you. Thank you for caring and bringing this situation to our attention. We need people like you to speak out,” @MaryCatbells told Martin.
In October, Digital Secretary Nadine Dorries told MPs that she “would love to” include paid-for scam advertising in the Bill, but was prevented from doing so on “legal advice” received.
A Government spokesperson said a response to the letter would be issued “in due course”.
But, speaking on Radio 5 Live, Martin argued that the government had not however shared what the “legal advice” was.
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