Scammers turning their back on the carbon credits scam

Tony Levene
by Lovemoney Staff Tony Levene on 24 November 2012  |  Comments 6 comments

It's the beginning for the end for carbon credit scams, with fraudsters turning their back on them.

Scammers turning their back on the carbon credits scam

Regular readers will know I have continually warned over the past 18 months against carbon credits sales scams.

About six weeks ago I wrote about Martin, who described himself as a broker in the City of London.

His was a longer, softer-focus sales pitch than most. He stressed “a dedication to excellence” and a guarantee of “trust and integrity”.

And he promised that he would not - unlike competitors – attempt to confuse me. He mentioned his firm's expertise in a number of markets (carbon credits, gold and silver, palm oil plantations) all of which are outside FSA regulation.

This week, he called again. And to my surprise, I largely agreed with the first part of what he said.

Turning their back on carbon credits

“We've stopped trading in the carbon credits market. It's a complete sham. It's very speculative and there is a very high risk of losing money. You are very unlikely to see a return.” So far, I would have only changed that from “very high risk” to “total certainty”.

Martin continued: “The carbon credits market is nonsense. Brokers mark up prices by seven times before they sell to you. We are advising clients to avoid this.”

For some reason, Martin thought that I had personally lost a substantial sum in carbon credit trading (although as I know it is a scam, all I have lost in my time listening to carbon pushers).

He added: “The reality is that carbon credits have left a sour taste. It is a market that is too good to be true. Tony, you'll have to take that one on the chin, you've lost so accept you won't see that money again. As a goodwill gesture, my advice to you is to move into a new market.”

So there we have it. This is a double moment. It firstly marks the end (or at least the beginning of the end) of the carbon credits scam where bits of paper worth pennies were sold for pounds, with the promise of quick and easy fortunes, backed by phoney green rhetoric and false  United Nations guarantees. This is similar to the time in mid-2011 when scamsters realised the long-running landbanking game was up and moved seamlessly, overnight, into carbon credits.

Strangely, in our first conversation in October, Martin claimed to be an expert in carbon credits. So where was the warning then? What had changed in those weeks to turn him from his enthusiasm?

But there is a second point here. Because this guy thinks I have thrown away a fortune in carbon trading (as will all who were sadly conned into this nonsense), he is about to share with me a way of getting back my losses and making big bucks on top

The recovery room technique

Martin is using the “recovery room” technique, which is often employed in the world of boiler room stocks. Scamsters often sell a phoney share and then, when it is obviously worthless, call up again pretending to be someone else.

Then they may attempt to sell another (equally worthless) share on the promise it will soar and more than make up for the losses. Or – and this is more sophisticated – they will tell you someone is about to launch a takeover bid at a huge premium. To prepare for that, investors need to “re-register” their shares for a fee. Needless to say, there is no takeover. Why would anyone pay top dollar for garbage?

Martin chose the first option. So what did he try to sell me?

The new carbon credits

You may have guessed this already, but it was “rare earth minerals” which this column first warned against some six months ago in The rare earth scam.

It was the same old stuff – huge demand for metals which few have ever heard of and even fewer can spell, entirely controlled by the Chinese who can force up the price. They are essential in mobile phones, laptops and many other consumer electronic goods. I've heard this so often, I reckon I can write the script.

All I had to do was to invest £10,000 and buy a few lumps of these metals, which would be kept in a bonded warehouse.  And if I needed the cash quickly and could not wait the 18-24 months to see the price double or treble, I could sell these elements back to the Chinese.

I am not sure whether you can post dysprosium or yttrium, or what the air freight rules are. But I know for a fact that no one will buy these bits of ore. And I am not sure what his promise of “ludicrous returns” meant. I would not find a total loss a laughing matter.

More on scams:

Doorstep seller complaints hit record high

The £32m Levene Ponzi scheme!

Don't fall for this weightloss pills scam

Avoid these silver-tongued scammers

Don't waste your money on wine that doesn't exist!

QROPS: the overseas pension scam to avoid

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Comments (6)

  • robinmarriage
    Love rating 7
    robinmarriage said

    Not carbon credits but I don't know how/who to get hold of at Lovemoney:

    Here's a good old-fashioned scam that operates without a computer or a phone or a foot in the door, where you're mugged simply by a silver-tongued charmer.

    The con-man, well dressed and convincing, cruises suburban streets looking for his victims. He stops, winds down the window of his expensive car to ask directions, usually in pitiful English. He listens intently, offers thanks profusively and then a 'thank you' present, 'absolutely free', he says.

    Could be an expensive looking watch, maybe a 'silk' tie or scarf. The patter is he's been to a sales conference or a trade fair and the item is either a free sample or an un-sold item.

    You refuse the 'gift' but the patter goes on until you're holding it.... Then he points to his petrol gauge, says he's running low but he's spent all his non-Euro currency and perhaps a small contribution would be appreciated. The amount required is then pushed up to match the 'value' of the 'free gift', which is conspicuously labelled with a ludicrously high price tag.

    One of you weakens and he'll drive off with either a couple of extra notes in his pocket or the not-so-free gifts back on his passenger seat.

    He's usually Italian, or pretending to be, and if you watch him go, he'll completely ignore your instruction to 'turn left at the next junction' as the hunt gears up for another possible victim. And you're so shocked you don't even get his car number.

    So far I've been targetted three times, all by (faux ?) Italians, in the county town where I live and at a motorway services in Germany.

    Report on 24 November 2012  |  Love thisLove  5 loves
  • Aitken B
    Love rating 154
    Aitken B said

    The whole carbon credit scheme was a scam from the start no matter who was selling them.

    And the reason it was always a scam is that the whole carbon credit debacle sprang from a scam, the one that attributes Global Warming to anthropogenic CO2.

    Report on 24 November 2012  |  Love thisLove  10 loves
  • jonnie2thumbs
    Love rating 111
    jonnie2thumbs said

    human beings have been responsible for millions of species going extinct - think of all the CO2 that has eliminated .....

    AGW was, is and always will be a scam, if hypocrites like Al Gore, Bono and Sting really believed all the crap they preach they would actually change the way they live their lives, not just buy some tax credits

    Report on 24 November 2012  |  Love thisLove  7 loves
  • oldhenry
    Love rating 350
    oldhenry said

    Sadly, the Government are still peddling the Global Climate change scam and we are paying for it, some with their lives when they freeze in their cold homes in winter.

    It is a serious problem that most people seem to ignore. of course many have been brain washed into thinking paying a lot for gas and electricy will make the planet last for another 1 or 2 billion years . Of course population density will not let life on earth last another million years let alone billion.

    Report on 27 November 2012  |  Love thisLove  1 love
  • nickpike
    Love rating 314
    nickpike said

    Our beloved politicians are in on this scam as well. Should we jail them, in addition to the expenses scam. BTW, things seem to have gone quiet reference the rent skimming scam, their latest. Does plod know about this yet, or is it 'within the rules'?

    Report on 02 December 2012  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • fedupwiththis
    Love rating 0
    fedupwiththis said

    I own Carbon Credits that i got through a company called CNI, i was called a month ago by a company who said that they assist investors who have lost money, they are called

    I paid them a fee of $5000 for taxes and other things and now they say that i need to pay $42000 in further fees. Its another con and they ripped me off for a second time it looks like that they are a recovery room as described above.

    Be aware if you are called by

    Report on 30 August 2013  |  Love thisLove  0 loves

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