Martin Lewis has slammed the government for its failure to include scams in its new online safety plans set out in the Queen’s speech.

The Money Saving Expert founder has been battling fake online endorsements and scams for years, with many fraudsters still using his name and image to dupe unsuspecting members of the public.

Amid the coronavirus pandemic and resulting national lockdown, a rise in online spending has seen opportunistic fraudsters take advantage of the current situation to exploit people.

Scams including the names of HMRC, the Royal Mail and major UK banks have been doing the rounds targeting personal details that can put people’s finances at risk.

Scammers will often make contact via email, phone calls and texts using sophisticated methods trick people into giving away their personal details.

It was hoped a crackdown on online scams would be part of the Online Safety Bill but it was not mentioned in the Queen’s speech or detailed in plans released afterwards.

Mr Lewis said the move leaves criminals to “get away with fraud with impunity”, telling the Government it has “failed to protect millions”.

“The Queen read that ‘My Government will lead the way in providing internet safety for all, especially children’,” Mr Lewis explained in a statement on Twitter.

“Yet the Government has stumbled at the first fence, by not including scams in the Online Safety Bill.

“We live in a world where the policing of scams is dangerously underfunded, leaving criminals to get away with fraud with impunity.

“This was a chance to at least deny them the ‘oxygen of publicity’ by making big tech responsible for the scammers’ adverts it is paid to publish.

“By not doing so the Government has failed to protect millions, in the midst of a pandemic, from one of the most damaging online harms to their financial and mental health.”

The financial expert said he had a “slim hope” that “the door is ajar for scams to be added to the Bill at the committee stage,” adding: “We will continue to expose this gap, and push ministers to put in place proper consumer protections against scams.”

Reacting to the plans, MP Stephen Timms, chair of the Work and Pensions Committee, said: “Every day that goes by without proper regulation of online adverts gives scammers a free pass to prey on people on the internet.

“The Government has repeatedly been told by countless consumer groups and public bodies of the huge financial and emotional harm caused by this online free-for-all, but has so far failed to act.”

Consumer group Which? said the case for including scams in the Bill is “overwhelming”.

“Online scams have a devastating financial and emotional impact on victims – and too often platforms like Facebook and Google are leaving their users worryingly exposed to criminals operating on their sites,” said Anabel Hoult, chief executive of Which?.

“The current approach of self-regulation is not fit for purpose.”