Investments 

Martin Lewis to sue Facebook over adverts

Martin Lewis to sue Facebook over adverts

The founder of Money Saving Expert has said he will sue Facebook over the use of his image in fake adverts for binary options scams.

Martin Lewis has previously criticised the "disgusting" use of his name and image as part of scams to trap unsuspecting investors.

He said some people had already lost thousands of pounds in a binary trading scam and now he plans to sue Facebook, where many of these adverts have appeared, for defamation.

Mr Lewis said in the past year Facebook has published more than 50 adverts featuring fake endorsements from him, often for scams.

He said: "Enough is enough. I have been fighting for over a year to stop Facebook letting scammers use my name and face to rip off vulnerable people – yet it continues.

"I feel sick each time I hear of another victim being conned because of trust they wrongly thought they were placing in me. One lady had over £100,000 taken from her.

"I don't do adverts. I have told Facebook that. Any ad with my picture or name in is without my permission. I have asked it not to publish them, or at least to check their legitimacy with me before publishing.

"This shouldn't be difficult – after all, it is a leader in face and text recognition. Yet it simply continues to repeatedly publish these adverts and then relies on me to report them, once the damage has been done."

The Financial Conduct Authority has warned that UK consumers are increasingly being targeted by binary options investment scams.

These are a form of fixed odds betting, which typically involves whether an event will happen or not, such as the price of a particular share or asset going up.

If the investor is correct then they "win" and would see a return on their investment but if they are wrong they lose their full investment.

But the regulator has now sought to inform consumers that these investments are "high-risk" and "speculative".

The FCA stated its data found the majority of consumers who invest in binary options lose money and find it hard to make sustained profits over a series of bets.

Mr Lewis said he will donate any money he wins from his court case to anti-scam charities.

Mark Lewis, of Seddons, the lawyer leading the case, said: "Facebook is not above the law – it cannot hide outside the UK and think that it is untouchable. Exemplary damages are being sought.

"This means we will ask the court to ensure they are substantial enough that Facebook can't simply see paying out damages as just the cost of business and carry on regardless.

"It needs to be shown that the price of causing misery is very high."

damian.fantato@ft.com

Comments