Lisa, who is using a false name to protect her identity, told the BBC she now “lives in fear” and has to pay back £1,000 a month to loan companies for the next five years.
Lisa said she first spotted an advert for the cryptocurrency Bitcoin on Facebook and decided to invest £200.
The scammers used the Money Saving Expert founder to promote their fraudulent ad, which tricked Lisa into a false sense of security. In reality, Mr Lewis had nothing to do with the investment.
Lisa told the BBC that the scammer hounded her for two months, telling her they were “business partners”. She said: “He groomed me to trust him. Right the way through I thought it was a Martin Lewis, genuine thing.”
Before Lisa knew it, the scammer had opened an Experian account in her name and taken out 11 loans using false details about her income.
Lisa said she has since received support from the Citizens Advice Bureau, the Trading Standards Agency and the police, and has now come to some agreement with the loan companies to pay a minimal amount back while protecting her credit rating as much as she can.
Lisa said: “I still don’t answer my phone to unknown numbers. I live in fear. They have my address. They have all my contact details. I’ve had to change all my passwords and my bank details because I don’t know what they’re capable of.”
Mr Lewis, who is currently taking a break from social media, regularly warns of criminals “ramping up” scam ads when he’s absent.
Just weeks ago, he warned people in a tweet: “Bye for now. I’m signing off for a few weeks to take a break, from social media and work, for a battery recharge. I’ll be leaving all the MoneySaving, any interest rate or price cap change news in the brilliantly capable hands of the @MoneySavingExp team – while I try and stay radio silent.
“Meantime pls be wary of criminals who in the past ramped up scam-ads with me in when I’m not posting. And if you spot them, do report them to the platform.” [sic]
A statement on the Money Saving Expert (MSE) website, last updated in July, warns Britons that fake Martin Lewis adverts are currently rife.
The statement reads: “Martin Lewis’s face has been plastered over the internet for many years now by unscrupulous fraudsters looking to scam people out of money.
“These ads – be they for cryptocurrency, investments, banks – are scams and not genuine. They’re dangerous and you should be on your guard. Martin never endorses products – and nor does MSE – so don’t be fooled.”