MoneySavingExpert.com founder Martin Lewis may have forced Facebook to launch an online scam reporting service but a new offensive has opened up with a warning that rogue firms are now using the finance site’s branding for PPI direct mail scams.
The move follows a mailshot – forwarded by one MoneySavingExpert user – purporting to be from the site, which claimed there was £12,128 ready for the user to claim.
The letter said that ‘Money Saving Expert’ was based at 102 Petty France, Westminster – the home of Government departments and public agencies including the Ministry of Justice – and contained three phone numbers.
However, when a MoneySavingExpert staffer called one of the numbers on the letter, the scammer who answered insisted they worked for MoneySavingExpert – even when the staffer told them where they were from.
When quizzed, the scammer initially confirmed that they were working for the “Martin Lewis site”, before going on to claim that they had misheard the question when it was revealed who was calling.
The issue has been reported to both the Financial Conduct Authority and Action Fraud.
However, with the August 29 PPI deadline looming large, consumers have been warned to be on their guard.
The Information Commissioner’s Office, which has seen complaints about spam PPI texts soar by more than 450% in July compared with the same month last year, is powerless to act against scam direct mail campaigns.
Even so, in May, Manchester firm Hall & Hanley became the latest claims firm to be caught sending millions of illegal text messages about PPI and was fined £120,000. However, many rogue firms which have been fingered have gone bust to avoid coughing up, triggering a change in the law to make directors personally liable for fines.
But the stakes are high, since January 2011, over £35.7bn in compensation has been paid out to victims of PPI mis-selling; Lloyds Bank predicted it could pay out more than £20bn in total.
Earlier this week, the FCA launched the final execution of its two-year PPI complaints deadline campaign (pictured), devised by M&C Saatchi and featuring the Arnold Schwarzenegger’s animatronic Terminator.
The campaign previously saw a giant Arnie stepping into the jaws of a giant press; the final instalment shows his head being squashed by the metaphorical pressure of the PPI complaints’ August deadline.
“I’m sure he’ll be back,” a spokeswoman quips as she explains the deadline, before Arnie returns as an energy drink called “Arnergy”.
The marketing industry’s main concern is which sectors the rogues will target once the PPI deadline has passed, with dodgy accident claims, telecoms, and energy saving firms all in the mix.
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