NatWest expects big things from Big Tech in payments innovation
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What do Martin Lewis, Elon Musk, Jennifer Aniston and Jeremy Clarkson have in common? According to NatWest, these celebrities are some of the most commonly used by scammers.

The UK retail bank has published this year’s list of its Celebrity Scam Super League. This list catalogue the celebrities whose likenesses are used without their knowledge to trick a victim into making a false investment.

Martin Lewis, a well known public figure in the UK as a financial adviser and the country’s ‘Money Savings Expert’, accounted for the most high value scams. He was followed by tech billionaire Elon Musk and Hollywood actress Jennifer Aniston.

Other prominent personalities used in the scams included Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page, US reality TV star Dr Bradley Schaeffer, UK TV personality Jeremy Clarkson and actress Lauren Cohan from The Walking Dead.

Stuart Skinner, Head of NatWest’s Fraud Prevention Team, said: “Criminals are increasingly using images of famous people who have been successful in business or are well known for giving advice on money to steal millions of pounds. Over one in ten consumers have lost money to fraudsters in the last 12 months.

“We’d urge people to be wary of fake celebrity investment adverts or if contacted by someone saying they are a celebrity. A cross-industry effort with social media companies is required to eradicate this type of fraud.”

In total, NatWest states that £1.3bn was stolen from consumers via fraud in 2023. The bank’s findings showcase the growing threat of deep fakes as a fraud tactic, as well as the prevalence of cryptocurrency scams.

NatWest noted that Martin Lewis himself has publicly addressed the use of his image by deep fake scammers. This Artificial Intelligence (AI) driven fraud use has increased significantly over recent years, catching the attention of various financial stakeholders.

Meanwhile, the bank also found that the majority of celebrity scam attempts were linked to cryptocurrency investments. In the case of Martin Lewis’ image, the victim was defrauded of £150,000 in a false crypto investment.

The publication of the findings comes just under four months ahead of the implementation of new fraud reimbursement rules in the UK, set to be implemented by the Payments Systems Regulator (PSR) on 7 October.

These rules have received pushback from the payments sector, whilst stakeholders have pointed to the role social media plays as a vehicle for scams. Several banks and financial institutions such as TSB, Barclays and Revolut have routinely cited social media as the most common platform for scammers to engage with potential victims.