Consumer finance specialist Martin Lewis has spoken out after a deepfake scam video featuring his likeness was circulated on Facebook.
The ad aims to trick people into investing in a fake project backed by Elon Musk, using a computer-generated version of Lewis to promote consumers to participate.
Lewis called the ad “weird and pretty frightening”, and urged consumers to stay vigilant before transferring funds to unknown sources.
On BBC Radio 4’s Today programme Lewis further commented on the advert: "My name and face have been the subject of scam adverts for many years, I get countless reports every day. This is the first deepfake I've seen with me in it. I don't think it's perfect but it's the first one and this technology is improving at a rapid speed. And frankly, it's disgraceful, and people are going to lose money."
He emphasised that it is critical for regulation to stay ahead of tech and rein in the dangers of AI deepfake technology, which can be used in countless ways to impersonate figures, spread false information, and con consumers.
Lewis continued: “We are scared of big tech in this country and we need to start regulating them properly. Vulnerable people are being scammed and nothing is being done about it.”
Speaking in the same vein, Dan Holmes, fraud SME at Feedzai, reacted to the scam, He commented: “The rise of generative AI has unleashed a pandora’s box of issues for individuals and businesses. The UK Government's ambition to position the UK as a leader in combating AI threats shouldn’t be snubbed, but it cannot afford to underestimate the sophistication of criminal networks. Staying one step ahead requires a comprehensive strategy that combines legal frameworks, technology investment, and education for businesses and consumers to recognise and combat fraud effectively.
“Only time will reveal whether the UK can truly achieve its desired status as a global player in AI regulation, but the first step should be to focus on fraud prevention and protect consumers against increasingly sophisticated and highly malicious criminal activity.”
Lewis sued Facebook in 2018 over fake adverts that falsely used his name, but dropped the lawsuit after the company offered commitments and a £3 million donation to Citizens Advice.