How the scam works:
Scams involving bilking the elderly out of their hard-earned savings are especially heinous. Many elderly victims live alone, are often lonely and welcome telephone calls; however, when a scammer is on the other end of the line, nothing but trouble is on the horizon.
The Sell Your Shares Scam involves crooks contacting the elderly over the telephone and offering to buy their shares of legitimate stock and exchange them for “carbon credits” – credits given for lessening greenhouse emissions – which are backed by governments all over the globe. Once the scammers have the money, of course, the “carbon credits” – as well as their money for the sold shares of their legitimate stocks – never arrive.
Sadly, these scammers will then often come back to the victim and pretend to be a large, well-known bank that can help them get their money back – for a fee, of course, usually around $3000. Sadly, there is nothing the Federal Trade Commission can do about this scam in the United States because “carbon credits” are not under the umbrella of regulations. They can only intervene on behalf of an investor if there is some dishonest trading of “authorized” stock.
How to avoid:
First of all, there are certified carbon credits that are a legitimate, government-backed stock. However, the “voluntary” carbon credits these shysters are “selling” are virtually worthless to investors. Any time someone calls regarding your stock holdings, request verification of their identity. Make sure to check with your investment advisor or a trusted family member about the veracity of the trade. Finally, family members of the elderly should always make it a point to talk to them about these telephone scams and how to avoid them.
How to protect yourself more:
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