A company calling itself Vanguard Trading International (or Vanguard UK Trading, or Vanguard Trading UK, or Vanguard Global Financial Intermediaries) is cold calling retail investors who have been scammed into buying carbon credits. Vanguard claims to be able to sell the carbon credits. Of course, there’s an advanced fee to be paid. And, of course, Vanguard is running a recovery room scam.
In September 2015, “Andy C” left a comment on REDD-Monitor saying that Vanguard had phoned him offering to sell his carbon credits for £13.30. All he had to do was pay an advanced fee of 10% for “corporate rediversion”.
A few days later, “Scammed” left a comment. Alan Richards at Vanguard UK Trading had phoned “Scammed” claiming that his company could “liquidate” his carbon credts using a platform in Madagascar.
If you have the misfortune to be contacted by Vanguard, here’s a list of red flags telling you not to hand over any money and to report the company to Action Fraud (0300 123 2040):
Vanguard cold called you – no legitimate company would do that. The only way that they could know your contact details (and the fact that you have been scammed into buying carbon credits) is because they found your name is on a “sucker list”.
Vangaurd claims to be able to sell your carbon credits. The reality is that your carbon credits are worthless. Here’s how a commodities and financial market professional with 10 years experience in carbon markets put it in a Guest Post on REDD-Monitor:
“In my professional opinion the credits sold to private individuals in the boiler room cases I have reviewed are worthless, I am not aware of a single individual in my 10 year career within the carbon markets that has sold on, for any economic worth, the VERs purchased from ‘boiler rooms’ as investments. Furthermore given the nature and mechanics of VER market I am unfortunately confident that any future outlook for these VERs will be negative and as such and paradoxically they become even more worthless as time moves on.”
Back in October 2015, Vanguard had two websites: vangaurdtradingltd.com and vanguardtradingltd.com. The first was registered in August 2015, the second in September 2015. Both sites were registered anonymously. These two websites have now disappeared.
The various websites provide no information about who is behind the company, or any details about registering at Companies House. As “Lu” pointed out in a comment on REDD-Monitor, Vanguard copied its “Vanguard in a few words” page from UBS. (There’s a clue in the url: www.vanguardcapitalinternational.com/ubs-in-a-few-words.)
And here’s a little spot the difference game:
Vanguard’s websites give a phone number: 0207 859 4641. The website Who Called Me? has a series of complaints from people who have been called from this number:
Vanguard has also been writing to people who have been scammed into wine investments. Jim Budd has posted a letter on his blog investdrinks, from John Gough, Head of Sales, London City Bond (a warehousing company). The letter claims that “Vanguard Trading UK have been instruced as our appointed contractor as a final attempt to remove your wines from our storage facility” and asks people to “contact Ms Julie Jones of whom [sic] is dealing with your case at Vanguard Trading UK”.
Budd posts a response from London City Bond: “This letter is not from LCB and we would like to remind you that we would never approach our customers to offer such a service.”