Fourteen celebrities including Dawn French, Martin Lewis and Philip Schofield urge MPs to tackle fraudulent ads
Celebrities including Martin Lewis, Dawn French, Philip Schofield and Robbie Williams have urged the government to crack down on fraudulent advertising.
The stars, who also include Holly Willoughby, Bradley Walsh and Davina McCall, have all had their names and photos used by con artists targeting consumer finances.
A total of 14 surnames signed a letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, asking him to include paid fraudulent advertising in the upcoming online safety bill.
The bill will give telecommunications regulator Ofcom the power to crack down on social media giants, but it does not cover online scams or other financial frauds.
The letter says the victims lost “their life savings” after trusting a fraudulent ad that used the names and faces of celebrities to give it “false legitimacy.”
A Sun investigation previously revealed how tech companies are making huge profits by allowing crooks to advertise bogus financial products.
We’ve also previously reported copycat debt companies posing as charities appearing at the top of Google searches.
“The UK is facing an epidemic of fraudulent advertising,” the group said.
“Every day, criminals swindle innocent people with money that changes their lives or puts their health at risk by selling them bogus medicine.”
“Consumers are being targeted on a scale we’ve never seen before.
“One of the most common tricks of online crooks is misusing the names and faces of well-known trusted public figures. “
Other celebrities supporting the call include Dragon’s Den stars Duncan Bannatyne, Deborah Meaden and Peter Jones.
Rob Brydon, Bear Grylls and Lorraine Kelly round out the list by begging the government to act.
The group, led by Martin Lewis of MoneySavingExpert, said current advertising rules are not in place to tackle “sophisticated, psychologically clever, digital organized crime based around the world.”
Under the new online security bills, tech companies would be responsible for user-generated scams, but not those that are paid advertising.
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