IM Academy lures with promises of a luxurious lifestyle and trips around the world; the concept is aimed at young people and has gained popularity in Skellefteå.
Much revolves around the opportunity to buy online-based courses in foreign exchange trading. The courses are expensive, with an initial fee of either 1,600 kronor or 2,700 kronor, followed by a monthly fee of almost the same amount.
Even if you make a profit in forex trading, you must still pay substantial sums back to IM Academy.
Norran has previously reported that authorities in several countries warn that IM Academy appears to be a pyramid scheme or investment fraud. The more people you recruit, the more money you allegedly receive.
Now, a former member of the IM Academy has decided to break the silence. She wants to share her experiences. We will call her Ebba; she joined in the winter of 2022 and was a member until the spring of 2023. Ebba describes the whole concept as "phoney".
– Members brag on social media about how much money they make from forex trading. I joined because I wanted to know more about it. But in reality, the focus is on recruiting new members, she says.
– There were a lot of digital meetings, three or four times a week, and it was important to attend. But the meetings were all about sales strategies on how to recruit more people. It had very little to do with forex trading.
When you buy a forex trading course through IM Academy, you get access to a number of pre-recorded videos. You are also promised a "personal mentor" and access to various market-scanning tools.
But Ebba says the mentors are young and inexperienced.
– My mentor couldn't answer questions about trading. He just told me to Google it. He mostly wanted me to recruit people, and he had a lot of time to coach me on that, she explains.
Ebba describes the atmosphere as cult-like.
– You are completely cut off from reality. They brainwash you to hate the media and look down on people who haven't 'got it'. They want you to hate people with regular jobs and people who haven't dropped out of school, she says.
– And the mentors are very pushy, they pressure you. My mentor wanted me to message a lot of people and post things on social media. It becomes like a pyramid because the mentors are also making money from you recruiting more. It wasn't a good feeling.
During her time at IM Academy, Ebba managed to recruit a few members and earned 1,500 kronor per month. But because of the recurring fees, there was hardly anything left in the end.
– All in all, I think I came out ahead, but it wasn't by much, she says.
By spring this year, it had become too much for Ebba. She didn't like the pressure of having to recruit new members and told her mentor she was thinking about quitting, but her mentor didn't take the news well.
– He stopped contacting me and even unfollowed me on Instagram, she says.
That was the last straw for Ebba, who then left IM Academy.
– All my friends quit, too. It really wasn't worth joining; I wouldn't recommend it to anyone, she concludes.
Footnote: Ebba is not her real name.
Norran has tried to contact IM Academy several times. The company has not responded. There is no clear information on the company's website about who is responsible, or the identities of the people behind the concept. No phone numbers are listed. The only means of contact is an email address, but it is unclear who maintains it.
Norran has also made repeated attempts to reach the founder, Christopher Terry, both through his own website and social media, but he has not responded.
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