A REDD-Monitor reader, let’s call him Harry, got in touch last week with a question:
Does anyone have any info on Source Escrow? They claim to be trading at 63 St Mary’s Axe London under a Companies House registered Co at Godington Hall, Bicester. If I phone their direct line I get a “switch board” and I am not able to connect to the director Mr Kivell. They are offering a good price for VCCs BUT require a deposit of £2000 in an “Escrow” account to lubricate the transaction. Thanks.
I wrote back and confirmed what Harry already suspected. It’s a scam. Here are the red flags:
The company calling itself Source Escrow cold called Harry. Cold calling about pensions is, since January 2019, illegal in the UK. If Harry is not a pensioner, this cold call from scammers at Source Escrow highlights a key weakness in the UK government’s ban on cold calling – the ban should cover all cold calls, not just those about pensions.
A few years ago, Harry was conned into buying carbon credits as an investment. If you are the victim of a scam, your name and contact details will be on a “sucker list”. Boiler room scammers trade these sucker lists.
Harry has been contacted several times by companies claiming they can sell his carbon credits. They are all scams.
The company is asking for an advanced fee. If Harry handed over the money he would never have seen it again.
A company called Source Escrow Limited was registered with Companies House in August 1994. But that company has nothing to do with the people who cold called Harry.
When Harry called the number the company gives (0203 725 6833) he reached a switch board, that couldn’t connect him to John Kivell, one of the directors of the real Source Escrow.
The phone number is the same number as that used by a clone of a company called European Capital Markets. On 8 February 2019, the Financial Conduct Authority put out a warning about the clone company. Perhaps surprisingly, the clone version’s website is still available almost three weeks later.
There are reports on the website scamphone.co.uk of four company names associated with the same phone number: Source Escrow, European Capital Markets, Avalon Capital Markets, and Ashbrooke Financial Group.
The Financial Conduct Authority has the following recommendation in its warning about European Capital Markets: “We strongly advise you to only deal with financial firms that are authorised by us, and check the Financial Services Register to ensure they are.”
Source Escrow is not on the Financial Services Register:
The company’s website claims that “UK Escrow” is registered with the Financial Conduct Authority. That is simply not true:
Source Escrow’s website was registered anonymously in June 2018. The company claims to have an “extensive office network”, with “more than 2,500 professionals”. But there are no names of anyone associated with the company listed on the website. It’s a clone of another company. Handing over money to the scammers claiming to be working for Source Escrow would be like handing over money to a complete stranger. A stranger wearing a mask, that is.
If you are contacted by Source Escrow (or any other company that claims to be able to sell the carbon credits that you were scammed into buying as an investment) please report them to Action Fraud, and the Financial Conduct Authority. Do not send the company money under any circumstances.