Viral deep fake scam advert targets Martin Lewis and Elon Musk

July 7, 2023

Martin Lewis AI scam

Martin Lewis, the founder of MoneySavingExpert, has become the center of a deep fake AI scam.

The scam involves a fake video falsely portraying Lewis endorsing a fictitious investment scheme supported by Elon Musk.

Martin Lewis is a prominent consumer financial advice expert from the UK that helps people manage their money. There have been other viral celebrity deep fake scams, including one promoting a crypto scam that involved Musk in 2022.

However, this particular scam was circulated in advert format and is purported to be the first of its kind.

The fraudulent video clip initially appeared on Facebook and spread to Twitter and Instagram.

It featured a deep fake version of Martin Lewis alongside an image of Elon Musk. Lewis’s deep fake version said, “Elon Musk presented his new project in which he has already invested more than $3bn (£2.4bn). 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.”

Lewis reacted to the fraudulent video via a tweet: “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.”

A spokesperson for Meta, told MoneySavingExpert, “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.”

Lewis later appeared on the UK TV show Good Morning Britain, where he said, “This is a deep fake. 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.”

The source of the video is still unclear.

“It’s certainly the first with me in. It’s an absolutely terrifying development. This is still only the early stages of the technology and they are only going to get better.”

Lewis has a long history of fighting big tech on legal matters like scam adverts. In 2018, he battled Facebook over allegations that it had enabled scam adverts to spread on their platform.

Eventually, Facebook agreed to donate £3m to Citizens Advice and set up a project to prevent scam adverts.

Lewis told Good Morning Britain, “We still have an absolute Wildwest on social media and other big tech advertising platforms that allows scammers to get away with impunity.”

“And what I want everybody watching to remember every time you see one of those adverts [is] 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.”

Another week, another deep fake saga. This again proves that fraudsters are more agile than social media platforms.

They’re almost guaranteed to circulate deep fake scams to thousands of people – even millions – before they’re removed. 

And as Lewis says, these scams will only get better.

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Sam Jeans

Sam is a science and technology writer who has worked in various AI startups. When he’s not writing, he can be found reading medical journals or digging through boxes of vinyl records.


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