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Scam email warning: fake Mirror websites

Scammers are still using Martin Lewis’s image in fraudulent Bitcoin adverts, but now they’re emailing them directly using fake mockups of the Mirror’s website.

Back in June, we explained why Martin Lewis felt he had no option but to sue Facebook for libel after he found his image being used on the platform to promote scam Bitcoin ads.

Using well-known celebrities and brands is clearly a tactic that the scammers feel has an impact – last August the Mirror reported that it had found fake versions of its website being promoted on social media.

These adverts all centre around the cryptocurrency Bitcoin, promising that you can get rich quick with a little investment. Scams like this claimed £15 million last year.

Johanna Butt, 83, was one of the victims. She almost lost more than £8,500.

Fake Mirror websites in emails

We were recently made aware of the following email, which ticks all the boxes mentioned above; a fake Mirror website, Martin Lewis’s image and promises of Bitcoin riches:

Bizarrely, Loughborough University’s domain has been used to mask the list of emails it was sent to. As you can see, I let the university know, and it passed it on for investigation.

If you’ve received this email, do not click through. These fake websites passing off the Mirror and Martin Lewis are designed to trick you into parting with your money.

Guide: how to spot an email scam

We made the Mirror aware that the fraudulent website is now being sent in scam emails. A spokesperson for Reach Plc, which owns the publication, told us:

“We are aware of this issue and take it very seriously. Our Legal and Digital teams are currently working to address it, and would like to reiterate that we do not advertise get-rich-quick schemes in our titles, nor do our brands run any advertisements that endorse bitcoin or cryptocurrencies.

We urge any readers who notice or have been affected by bogus links on Facebook to flag it using the site’s report misleading or scam ad function”

When I let Martin Lewis’s Money Saving Expert know, it told me it continues to warn that these ads have nothing to do with them:

“If you see an ad with Martin that does not link back to MSE, it’s fake. The quotes are fake. The tweets claiming to be from Martin’s account are fake.

All the companies Martin’s allegedly advertised have used Martin’s name falsely and without his permission – even if a product relates to subjects MSE normally covers, such as energy or PPI”

Have you received this Bitcoin scam by email? Have you spotted any other celebrities or brands being passed-off in order to con people?

If so, get in touch in the comments below.


Have you spotted any other celebrities or brands being passed-off in order to con people?

I will say Phillip Schofield in the We Buy Any Car advert on TV.

A TV celebrity reportedly worth over £8 million encouraging people to sell their cars to a company that will offer them less than their car is worth and then knock the price down even further at inspection.

We fast-forward the adverts, but just lately every time they happen to be on so is he and I find his act rather creepy.

If that isn’t an unsavoury con, I don’t know what is.

Clearly there is no depth to which some TV personalities will not sink in the pursuit of more money.

Jonathan says:
9 August 2019

No different to someone making an offer to buy your house at below your selling price and then reducing their offer again because they’re prepared to do a quick deal. If you want to get shot of your car with very little hassle, WBAC is a useful resource but nobody forces you to do so.

I suppose the sad fact is that Philip Schofield is not being ripped off, passed-off or misrepresented in the WBAC adverts; it really is his decision to promote the company in the commercials whereas Martin Lewis is not in any way associated with the adverts or promotions that feature his name and picture. Whether or not WBAC is a con is a matter of opinion whereas in the case of Martin Lewis and the scam money ads it is a matter of fact. As Jonathan says, no one has to sell a car through We Buy Any Car, and no one has to buy Bitcoins either, but selling by deception and false endorsement is illegal and is a confidence trick that is tantamount to fraud.

I have not used WBAC to sell a car but I have used the website to check the market’s basement value for one as a preliminary to negotiations.

Stephen Reid says:
10 August 2019

Jonathan I take your point that it is a useful resource, but, paying less than you originally offer is still dishonest and “bad practice”. There is no other reason for any business or personal transaction not to be open and transparent apart from greed. Yes, it’s a human trait, but, it’s still a bad one that destroys trust and teaches a whole new generation of young people that it is “normal” to rip people off and expect to be ripped off. I hate that dishonesty has become so prevalent these days that I will speak out about it now wherever I see it!

Someone is breaking the law. If Martin and the Mirror can not find out who, they will continue to do so with impunity.

Social media, and in particular facebook are awash from scam ads. I report them all when I can tell they’re a scam. facebook are incredibly slow to act.
It’s not only crypto scams, there’s ads keto , viagara and those annoying PPI ads where they’ve got a new app that can tell if you’re owed money, Shame the banks won’t give anyone that sort of info, yet people still fall for it, and the FCA are useless at tackling them, they expected me to interact with the scammers. Well no chance.
And what’s with all the extra lank lines every time I hit return?

I think the PPI companies owe much of their success to distrust of the banks and the FCA. Yes the banks were rightly busted for mis-selling, but it’s not cut and dried in every case and you know what would happen if they wrote everyone (probably most of their customers) who might have suffered. Meanwhile the FCA don’t have the resources to quickly follow up every complaint and so they rely on volunteers, ie you and me. Engaging with scammers is not particularly dangerous, and its pretty easy to at least waste their time. If time is not an issue for you, then it can be a form of light entertainment! Few years ago I got a number of phone calls from people claiming to work for MS and they were responding to some error my computer had reported. I got a feel for how long they’d wait. Best was nearly 45 minutes most of which I was “looking for” various things, but actually filling the dishwasher, making a cuppa, and playing a computer game. Great conservation opener at the pub and parties.

This looks like another page using Martin Lewis’s apparent endorsement. I won’t give a clickable link. newswithmoney.com/574/

Liz says:
9 August 2019

Yes i’ve had the Martin Lewis Mirror email several times in last three or four weeks. I know it’s a scam thanks to Which magazine, but it’s really worrying as is so realistic and can see why people would be taken in by it, if they are unaware.

Brian says:
10 August 2019

I agree with William. Why oh why do the search engines not do more to stop this sort of thing. There is nowhere near enough vetting before stuff goes on a search engine. And why do the spoof websites always appear at the top. Could it be that they pay the most to be first in the line?

Ann Burgess says:
10 August 2019

I was taken in by one of these about three months ago. Usually I can spot a fake email a mile off, but this one appeared to have been sent by a friend of mine and just said something to the effect of, “This is interesting:” and a link. I clicked the link because I thought my friend had sent it. Fortunately I didn’t lose any money, mainly because to send me material about Bitcoin would be completely out of character for the friend whose name was in the sent field so I realised it was a scam when I saw it.

I’m not sure I’d be taken in by the above. I know the standard of written English has gone down in published material over the past thirty years or so. This has more than grammatical errors, however, in that it doesn’t obey British norms and feels awkward. It feels as though it’s a semi-competent translation rather than something written by a British national who lives here. Thanks for flagging this up, Which?!

Whether the ad is fake or not, Bitcoin and other crypto-currencies are unregulated and highly speculative investments.
Most people (even those in IT) sadly don’t recognize that the Bitcoin blockchain technology is flawed and ultimately doomed.
Just because a celebrity endorses something is no reason to buy it. People need to use their brains.
I received bad advice from a financial advisor about *not* making additional contributions to a government final-salary pension scheme back in 2002, as it was “very expensive” to buy past added years. Thank God we didn’t listen and can thing for ourselves.

There is at present no sufficient deterant to stop these financial scams, few prosecutions and no really hard prison time.

Robert Smith says:
10 August 2019

On a similar theme Classic fm is running a commercial for a PPI claims company using a voice which, I am sure is no coincidence, sounds just like Martin Lewis.

Part of the solation is to charge the OWNERS and Directors with adding and abetting the relevant crime. Start fining them the maximum and give send them to prison sentence that the law allows, plus make them pay back the total amount scammed and also the full cost of prosecuting them and within next to no time the vast majority of these scams will stop.

I think Martin Lewis is probably the one person I’ve not seen in one of these phoney Mirror things. Most of them feature either guests or the presenters of ITV’s morning show, so maybe ITV should be doing something about it as well. They’ve all but one been about Bitcoin, the odd one out was about another digital currency.

The first one was pretty convincing, but the later ones, with different personalities all making the same quotations began getting suspicious very quickly.

I have had one of these, however it came from what I thought was a friends email address. On further investigation (I checked the email header) I found that my friends email address appears to have been compromised it was xxxxxxxx@yahoo.com but the email header shows xxxxxxxx@karibcable.com . To make matters worst the email was addressed to me ie:- it was my email address, the email started with my namename, it was followed by the link, and signed with my friends name. He sometimes sends emails in this form so it did not at first look odd. It looks as though not only his email but his contacts had been compromised. I had looked at the link which used the short code type of link so you are unable to see where it is pointing I quickly realised that it was a scam. I have advised all my contacts that use this email address and started to use an alternative.

This sounds like an email virus/worm that if the receiver clicks on a link in an email, it sends another email to everybody in that address book.

It came from a friend so you trusted it who had clicked the link and if you also click the link, all your friends and contacts will also receive it.

These worms are often used for harvesting live email addresses as they spread very quickly.

Deborah Marchlewski says:
14 October 2019

I have recently received one of these emails and apparently sent one to a contact also ( although it doesn’t appear on my sent schedule).
The email opens with lots of symbols and letters including reference to Microsoft and two outdated links, but at the bottom there are two links to what I take to be spurious articles about bitcoin on Morning TV and in the Mirror.
Is there anyway of blocking these emails as they are annoying both to me and my contacts?