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A company calling itself Source Escrow is running a recovery room scam

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:

red flagThe 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.

red flagA 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.

red flagThe 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.

red flagThere 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.

red flagThe 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:

red flagSource 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.

 

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  1. I have also been contacted by Source Escrow but, having been approached in this way several times before and done similar investigations to those you describe, decided that this yet another recovery scam. The email I received is below:

    “We write to you with regards to your unallocated asset holding. As you are aware, following identification of your assets at the recent closure hearing, we have attempted to contact you as the officially appointed clearance receiver.

    “Unallocated assets will be forfeited if a representation claim is not made within the next 14 days.

    “As our attempts to reach you have been to no avail, may we ask that you contact your advisor on 0203 725 6833 as a matter of urgency to enable us to assist you in recuperating your asset holdings.

    Yours Sincerely,

    J.TK
    John Townley Kevill
    Director

  2. I was the person who you have identified as harry who sent the message you quoted. I have reported this incident to Action fraud together with details of the Halifax bank account they were using. They phoned me again and i told them to get lost. They then sent me an invoice for the costs incurred by them in losing the transaction to sell my VCRs ! These guys are amazing and their blattant activity means that they will continue to try these scams until they are forcably restrained. Unfortunatley they will continue as the police have limited resources to deal with these activities and stop them.

  3. I was cold called then had an email suggesting that if I do not act now, that under the Seizure of Ownership in line with Section 152 in the Serious Organised Crime & Police Act, I will forfeit any claim on 1st March 2019. Looking at Section 152 of the Act shows it to be about seizure of vehicles ??!
    I found your information very helpful. These ba***ds keep coming!
    I reported the matter to the FCA.

  4. Thank you very much fort the warning. I’ve just received a call from a “Charles Hunter”! I shall pass anything on to Action Fraud and the FCA

  5. After having agreed to sell my graphene with Dwyer assay managent I received a call from Source Escrow to put money into an escrow account to cover sales costs transport insurance etc
    I was then told I had to pay a charge to get my money from escrow
    Then last week I was contacted by Cleantech Europe escrow to remove the name of NicholAs Young (Source escrow) as a beneficiary of my escrow account
    I’ve been scammed and have a strong indication thatCleantech Europe Escrow is also a scam

  6. These recovery room scams are increasing. I see many of them. In addition to reporting them to Action Fraud and the regulatory authorities there is something you can do yourself. If an investor wants to take some action themselves this is a tactic my group uses.
    1. Ask for the bank account details where they would like you to pay your money.
    2. Pay one cent or one penny into the account.
    3. Contact your bank immediately the transfer goes through and report to them that you have been the victim of fraud. State that you paid one cent or one penny into the account. You believe it is being used in a fraud and ask them to investigate.
    Your bank will not act unless you have suffered a loss. It is a pain to have to do this but banks MUST take action if you have suffered a loss. They are required to report your allegation to the scammers bank and they are required by law to investigate. If needs be you can send them a copy of emails received from the scam company.
    You will not catch them using this method because the banks will never tell you who they are, but you will cause them major problems with their cash flow and you may help prevent other investors from losing their money. Imagine if you had made a bank transfer to one of their accounts and you received a message back saying that the transfer had been declined. It might make you reconsider whether or not they are genuine.
    If the bank thinks the account is being used for fraud they will freeze it. The scammers have to go out and open new bank accounts.
    Until the banks start co-operating with victims of fraudulent accounts this is pretty much the only thing you can do.
    Our bank doesn’t like it when we tell them that we have paid one cent to a scam account and we would like them to recover our cent. They have to do just as much work to recover one cent as they would to recover $10,000. Our response is to say that if banks took reports of fraudulent accounts seriously we wouldn’t have to make the payment in the first place.
    This tactic is not for everyone. All I can say is that we have used it ourselves and it has yielded results. We have even had our cents returned to us months later ! We also use this as a way of checking whether an account used in a scam is still ‘live’ i.e we pay one cent or penny into it to see if it bounces back.
    We recently recorded 40 UK bank accounts used in one scam. Around 25% of them were used in the original scam and 75% were recovery room accounts into which many investors unfortunately paid money when they were contacted by people who stated they had been able to sell their bonds, coins, carbon credits, diamonds, rare earth metals etc.