‘People take their own lives, or consider taking their own lives, because of fraud’
During the meeting, Martin explained that while he “does not do ads”, fraudsters often use the face of famous people, including himself, to legitimise scams. Martin gave the example of a lady who had bladder cancer and had savings earmarked for her granddaughter’s wedding. She invested it because she wanted it go a bit further, saying: “If Martin’s sponsoring it, it must be alright.” She lost £15,000 alone just trying to get the money back.
In another story Martin spoke of, a woman whose grandchild’s parents had died had put the money that they had saved into a scam because, Martin’s face was on it and she “trusted me”.
Martin explained: “If you wonder why I get so passionate about it; I have spent 20 years trying to do consumer protection work and I see people’s lives being destroyed. It is not just people losing money. If you have just given away your retirement fund that you’ve worked 30 years for and you feel stupid-and they’re not stupid, but they feel stupid because these are really sophisticated and clever people-you don’t recover from that in years.”
He added: “I find it deeply frustrating to be told that’well, we need to do some research on this’ and’we might get a fix in a couple of years’. People take their own lives, or consider taking their own lives, because they blame themselves for the scam that they’ve fallen to.”
Martin’s warning comes as new research from Which? today reveals that the estimated average drop in well-being for victims of fraud is the equivalent of £2,509 a year. This estimate is even higher-£3,684-for online fraud. This well-being impact is substantially more than the average financial sum lost to fraud, according to the consumer group.