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Inspired by the prospect of big gains, fraudsters are continually inventing ingenious schemes to misappropriate emissions allowances. The wave of carbon credit VAT scams in late 2009 is relatively small beer in comparison to a recent large-scale operation carried out by a sophisticated group of computer hackers. The German edition of the Financial Timesreports that the group used fake email identities to convince large numbers of businesses in Europe, Japan and New Zealand to re-submit their carbon exchange user information to a bogus website. Once they had appropriated the necessary access codes, the group transferred their victims' emissions credits to accounts in the UK and Denmark, before selling them off for cash. It is not yet known how many companies fell victim to the scam, "but checks in Germany have revealed that three out of four companies investigated were affected." Carbon exchanges in 13 countries have now been closed in response to the problem. "Carbon trading is considered to be the best instrument for protecting climate. But this fresh case of fraud has shown that it also remains very vulnerable," worries the daily.