An investigation that took several months has revealed how one company in Ukraine has defrauded over $70 million from thousands of victims in a cryptocurrency scam. Known as the Milton Group, the company has used a large group of trained telemarketers to lure its victims. It has especially targeted the elderly in Scandinavian countries, taking advantage of their lack of technical knowhow to steal from them.
The investigation was conducted by Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter with the assistance of a whistleblower in the company. It revealed the inner workings of the scam and how well equipped the company is in targeting its victims. The telemarketers target Scandinavian countries mainly including Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Norway.
They are provided with a manual with specific instructions on how to handle their victims depending on where they live. For Scandinavian residents, the trick lies in being empathetic, the manual outlines, stating, ”These clients most of the time are old people and they really need someone to talk to. It will be very wise for you to pitch very gently and slow with emotions.”
The scam all starts when the victims click on adverts on social media about crypto trading. The ads come with all manner of lies about how they can make a fortune overnight and how some of the biggest names in their countries are using this method. The victims all claimed that once they clicked on the ads, the telemarketers started targeting them.
They then convinced them to invest in their crypto trading business, with most of them placing an initial $100 investment. Once the victim was onboard, the telemarketers advise them to install a program on their computer that gives the company access (the kind of programs IT professionals use to guide you through technical issues on your computer). However, in this case, the Milton Group uses the access to wipe out the victim’s bank accounts, and in most cases, even taking big loans under the victim’s name.
For most scams, this would be enough and they would leave the victim to pick himself back up. Not Milton Group. The victim then gets another call from ‘a law firm’ that claims it wants to help them recover the money. However, this is just a separate department in the same company. It promises to not only get the victim’s money back, but to get it back with interest. The trick is that the victim has to pay the fees and the cut upfront before he can get his money back. This money is lost as well and the victim never gets to hear from the company again.
The scam has ruined several lives, mostly the elderly, with most of them losing all their life savings. Many have had to go back to work just to afford the basics, with some as old as 73. According to the report, the Swedish police have refused to take any action despite all the proof collected by the newspaper and its whistleblower. The CEO of Milton Group has denied the allegations, claiming that his company only provides IT support and does not sell any financial products.
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