By Chris Lang
Last week, REDD-Monitor received the following message from “Henry”:
I have been approached by Good Investment Advisors Ltd. They are offering to sell my VCRs as there is now a market – inflated by Mr Carney’s comments. Do you know GIA? They say that the VCRs may need to be activated. Do you know what that means? Not sure if they are intending to charge me.
Henry also provided an office address, email, website, and phone number for Good Investment Advisors Ltd.
Good Investment Advisors is a scam. Here are the red flags:
Good Investment Advisrs cold called Henry. He had been scammed into buying carbon credits several years ago. He’s now on what the scammers call a “sucker list”. These lists include names, contact details, and background information about people who have been scammed. Scammers trade sucker lists, because when someone has been scammed, they are more likely to fall for another scam.
The only way that Good Investment Advisors could know Henry’s contact details is from a sucker list.
Good Investment Advisors claims that there is now a secondary market for voluntary carbon credits that retail investors were scammed into buying. They claim that this market somehow “inflated” as a result of Mark Carney’s Taskforce on Scaling Voluntary Carbon Markets. This is typical of the tricks that boiler room scammers use. They take something that has been in the news and twist it to give legitimacy to their sales spiel.
While many people will have heard that Carney has been working on promoting voluntary carbon markets, very few people will actually read the 155-page Taskforce report. The Taskforce report does recommend creating a secondary market for voluntary carbon credits, but that’s all it is at this stage – a recommendation. And even if there was a secondary market, the carbon credits that scammers sold to retail investors are worthless:
And of course Good Investment Advisors claim that “the VCRs may need to be activated” is just their fabricated excuse for an advance fee.
A November 2020 comment on the Bondreview website states, “I have heard from Good Investment Advisors. They reckon they can get my money back in four weeks for a commission of between 2% and 7%.”
The comment follows a post about Westway Holdings, a company that offered unregulated fixed-interest bonds. Westway Holdings promised a return of 7.5% per year over a five year term. The company stopped repaying investors in November 2019, and went into administration in May 2020.
In June 2020, Bondreview reported that Westway’s investor list “has already made its way into the hands of recovery scammers”, and the website has some sensible advice for anyone who is the victim of a fraud: “Anyone who cold-calls you claiming they can get your money back from Westway or want to buy your bonds is a scammer.”
Good Investment Advisors’ website (www.giadvisors.uk) is far from reassuring. The website was registered in September 2020. The text is cut and pasted from a company called American Financial Advisors. Legimitate companies do not cut and paste the text on their websites from other company’s websites. The top part of the image below is from American Financial Advisors’ website and the bottom part is from Good Investment Advisors’ website. The only difference is that the scammers have replaced the word “Orlando” with the words “Good Investment”:
The website authors don’t even seem sure what the name of the company is. It’s a trivial point, but there are at least three versions of the company name on the website. On the company logo, the company is called “Good Investment Advisors Group”. In the website footer, the company is called “Good investment advisor group”. Elsewhere on the website it is called “Good Investment Advisory Group”.
Good Investment Advisors’ website includes what appears to be a testimonial. Alexander Swarzy tells us that, “From the very first day of business, I have trusted Softax with all of my accounting needs. They are professional, reliable, experienced and so easy to work with.” That’s the only mention of Softax on the website. It has nothing to do with good Investment Advisers. Exactly the same testimonial appears on several other websites. And Alexander Swarzy’s photograph appears on many other websites – completely unrelated to his Good Investment Advisors testimonial.
Good Investment Advisors does not give away any information about any of the people that work at the company. The company’s website states that “Our professional team is here to help you with any questions or concerns”, next to four photographs – implying that these people work at Good Investment Advisors.
Good Investment Advisors looks like it is a clone of a company called Good Investment Advisors Limited that was registered with Companies House in December 2010. According to the company’s most recent accounts, in 2019 the company had a turnover of £14 and a loss of £185.
Last week, REDD-Monitor reported on a press release from the Financial Conduct Authority about clone firms. The FCA is warning the public to avoid “clone firm” investment scams. Unfortunately, the FCA is neither taking meaningful action to stop scammers from setting up clone firms, nor is it prosecuting the scammers that set up the clone firms:
The FCA website lists clone firms on its website, but does not appear to have any way that the public can report a clone firm to the FCA. As far as I can tell, there is no mention of Good Investment Advisors on the FCA website. REDD-Monitor has written to the FCA to let them know about the Good Investment Advisors clone firm recovery room scam. I look forward to reporting on the FCA’s response.
If you are contacted by Good Investment Advisors (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.