Phishing scheme goes after carbon credits

Using a pretty basic "You need to re-register your account" email, a group of phishers managed to swipe carbon credit permits—basically, entitlements to produce greenhouse gas emissions above the cut-off level stipulated by cap-and-trade laws—from six companies. Wired reports the permits were worth more than $4 million. But what do you do with pilfered carbon credits? These thieves re-sold 'em, to buyers who apparently thought they were purchasing legit credits in a standard trade—companies that produce less than their allotted share of greenhouse gases can sell the excess allowance to others.


  1. Fraudsters defrauding fraudsters… there’s a more serious point though. The “phishing” attack is not an isolated scam – a report by Europol in December 2009 found that up to 90 per cent of the trades on some EU carbon exchanges were down to VAT “carousel” fraud. The underlying problem is that carbon trading renders a whole set of incommensurable practices equivalent in order to make a single tradeable commodity, to the point that it is then unclear what is being traded (see ). The resulting system is a scammers’ paradise.

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