“Trump Cards” Scam Targets MAGA Supporters -Some Lose Their Life Savings

“Trump Cards” Scam Targets MAGA Supporters -Some Lose Their Life Savings

Reports from Rferl reveal that foreign scammers have been preying on ardent supporters of former President Donald Trump, leading to substantial financial losses through a scheme offering counterfeit ‘Trump Cards.’ Exploiting the trust vested in the former president, the scam falsely suggests endorsement from Trump himself.

The scam operates by promoting a narrative tailored to American audiences, asserting that products bearing Trump's image, such as coins, stickers, and stamps, will appreciate significantly in value once he returns to power. Digital channels are used to disseminate stories promising quick financial gains, specifically targeting Trump supporters.

Communication primarily occurs through closed Telegram channels, while false advertisements are posted by virtual marketers on public Telegram channels. Content appealing to conservative U.S. audiences is also shared on these public channels.

The scheme capitalizes on the belief that owning TRB (Trump Return Bucks) products can yield returns on previous investments, persuading victims that they are merely cashing out using the new cards. Prices for these cards can soar into the thousands of dollars.

"In short, the story will be that they need this product so they can cash in on other TRB products by withdrawing $5,000 every day at the ATM," reads a message from one of the closed channels promoting the cards. The promotional language often employs vagueness and obfuscation, stating, "They can register up to $500,000 on each card."

Investigations conducted by RFE/RL's Balkan Service, involving months of research and infiltration of closed Telegram groups, have identified 69 individuals offering fraudulent cards, with the majority traced to Veles, Macedonia. Out of 69 creators of similar products, data from social networks indicates that at least 45 claim Veles as their location.

Thousands of Trump supporters have fallen victim to the scam, collectively investing millions of dollars in Trump Bucks. The total extent of the scam is estimated to be in the tens of millions of dollars. Data from Macedonia’s Public Revenue Office reveals that individuals under 35 from Veles and surrounding areas have reported substantial income from the United States, primarily from marketing and internet services.

Among the victims is 86-year-old Ann Bratton, who invested over $30,000 in the hope of substantial returns. After receiving "Trump Collection" cards, she attempted to withdraw cash from ATMs but was unsuccessful. Despite being contacted again by "TRB support" demanding more money, Bratton has not reported her case to authorities.

Veles Mayor Marko Kolev acknowledges the prevalence of such schemes, noting the lure of quick financial gains among young people. He expresses uncertainty regarding the legality of the products but highlights the manipulation of U.S. citizens.

Bank of America has disassociated itself from the products, stating they are souvenirs with no cash value. The FBI declined to comment on ongoing investigations, while queries sent to Trump’s campaign press team regarding the "Trump cards" remain unanswered.

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