By Chris Lang
Over the past 18 months, REDD-Monitor has written a series of posts about companies selling carbon credits as investments. From the comments it’s clear that a large number of people have been taken in by the scam and many have handed over their life savings.
In the discussions following these posts, there has been some repetition of advice about what to do if you have bought carbon credits. This is an attempt to collect that information in one place. There may be more options and I’ll update the post as necessary.
Before taking any action, you need to acknowledge that you are the victim of a scam. If you’re having difficulty with this, please read this presentation. In it, Andrew Ager, ex-head of carbon and emissions at Bache Commodities, explains to the City of London Police why carbon credits are not suitable as investments.
Acknowledging that you are the victim of a scam is in itself is not easy. But having done so, it is very important that you do not give in. There are several things that you can do. At the very least you will help stop other people from becoming victims of the same scam.
- Contact Action Fraud: 0300 123 2040 or via the website. It is essential that you give them as much information as possible. They get an awful lot of calls, but the more calls they get from people who are victims of carbon credit fraud, the more likely they are to take action.
- Also contact your Local Police, who may have their own Economic Crime Directorate or Specialist Fraud Team.
- Contact the Financial Conduct Authority: 0800 111 6768 or via the website. As well as reporting the company or companies involved ask them for advice about next steps.
- Tell your Member of Parliament that you believe you are the victim of a fraud. Ask her or him what they are doing to regulate voluntary carbon markets and what they are doing to stop the fraudulent selling of carbon credits.
- Contact your bank. Also contact the bank to which the money was transferred. Tell them you believe you are the victim of a fraud. Ask them whether they will submit a Suspicious Activity Report to the National Crime Agency.
- If you paid the money to a firm of solicitors, complain to the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
- Once your name and contact details are in the hands of boiler rooms you can expect to receive phone calls or emails offering a myriad of wonderful investment opportunities. Do not take advice from anyone who rings out of the blue. No respectable financial firm would cold call you with “investment” opportunities. To do so would be a serious breach of Financial Conduct Authority and Prudential Regulation Authority regulations.
- Do not hand over more money to companies who claim that they can sell your credits, no matter how convincing they sound. That is the Recovery Room part of the scam.