Exposing Trump Bucks Scam That’s Duping MAGA Fans Out of Millions

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  • Post published:March 3, 2024
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Intro: It was a scheme so brazen, so audacious, that it almost deserves a bizarre respect.

A network of scammers created fake Donald Trump-branded currency, complete with his face plastered on “Trump Bucks” and “Trump Cards”. They marketed these novelty items as legal tender that could be cashed out for massive future payouts once Trump regained power.

Combining sophisticated marketing tactics, deepfake videos, and the fervor of Trump’s base, the scammers managed to dupe legions of unwitting supporters. Some spent thousands… even tens of thousands of dollars on the bogus Trump currency and related products like coins, stamps, and checks.

The goal? To cash in on Trump’s lasting popularity by convincing his most die-hard fans that they were investing in a future Trump-led financial system that would make them super wealthy.

In this ultra detailed expos√©, I’ll reveal exactly how the “Trump Bucks” scam worked, who was behind it, and the disturbing aftermath of supporters losing their life savings to the con.

Buckle up, because this is one crazy story…

Background Overview of Trump Bucks Scam

The core premise behind the Trump Bucks scam was simple: convince ardent Trump fans that he was creating a new currency and financial system to take down the “deep state” controlling the US dollar.

By purchasing Trump Bucks, Trump Cards, and other related products, you would essentially be “investing” in Trump’s parallel economy to be granted access once he returned to power.

Obviously, this was complete fiction. Trump and his team have never authorized or endorsed any such products or economic system.

But the scammers didn’t let reality get in the way of whipping up MAGA fans into a frenzy…

They created elaborate stories that the worthless Trump Bucks could be redeemed at banks like Chase, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo once Trump’s new financial system went into effect. Some websites advertised that buyers could withdraw up to $500,000 per day from ATMs using the cards.

They launched slick marketing campaigns across social media, Telegram channels, and dedicated websites. Sites like “PatriotsDynasty.com” used authentic-looking branding and videos to lend legitimacy to the scam products.

But at the core of the scam were the fake Trump endorsements delivered through cunning deepfake technology.

In one egregious example surfaced by NBC, a video appears to show President Trump as a guest on Fox News. But it’s clearly an AI-generated voice impersonating Trump used to promote the products:

“It was a long and hard-working process to make the Trump Rebate Banking system functioning properly, but I would do anything for my loyal supporters. The Trump Rebate Handbooks are the only certified way to authenticate, verify and cash out your Trump products!”

The sophisticated fakery lent an air of legitimacy and leveraged the Trump team’s anti-mainstream media messaging. After all, if Fox News was covering Trump’s economic plans, surely it must be real?

In another audacious stunt, the scammers doctored images to make it look like Trump himself was endorsing the products alongside major figures like Elon Musk, Tucker Carlson, and even Trump’s own children like Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka.

These convincing clout endorsements likely contributed to the scam’s virality and reach.

There’s little doubt that the scammers meticulously studied The psychology of Trump’s base. They knew all about their deeply-entrenched mistrust of mainstream media and institutions like banks. They knew that if Trump was behind something, they’d wholeheartedly support it.

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So to bypass any skepticism, the scammers positioned their bogus products as anti-establishment currency that would enrich hardline Trump fans for their loyalty once the former POTUS returned to power.

It seems to have worked shockingly well… at least for awhile.

Trump Supporters Collectively Swindled Out of Millions

While the full financial impact is unknown, NBC News spoke directly to people who lost thousands… even tens of thousands in the scam.

86-year-old Ann Bratton from Nashville thought the “Trump Cards” she purchased were an investment opportunity of a lifetime. On encrypted Telegram channels, she was convinced that the debit card style products loaded with $200,000 in funds would multiply exponentially once Trump regained power.

Bratton ultimately spent around $6,000 amassing the cards before trying (and failing) to withdraw funds from ATMs at her local Bank of America branch.

This was just the tip of the iceberg…

Another elderly Trump supporter from Alabama dropped $1,500 on “Trump Bucks” that she tried to cash out at her local Bank of America, only to be told by staff that it was an obvious scam with no monetary value.

One woman stated that her 77-year-old conservative mother-in-law went “down the rabbit hole” purchasing tens of thousands of dollars worth of Trump Bucks and related products.

“We tell her she’s getting scammed, and she says, ‘Just wait, Trump will make all the patriots rich,'” the daughter-in-law explained. “It’s like she’s in a cult.”

Ann Bratton echoed the cult-like deception, telling NBC: “I believe in President Trump, and I think he is honest. I believed that I was investing in the future.”

While interviewing over a dozen victims, NBC uncovered that some supporters had even taken out loans or drained savings accounts to maximize their Trump product “investment” and future payouts.

The appeals were just too powerful to resist for many Trump enthusiasts eager to cash in on his eventual return to power.

Who Was Behind the Elaborate Grift?

While the full scope of the scheme is still emerging, investigators have identified a number of likely culprits based in North Macedonia behind the Trump Bucks scam and related products.

Many of the sham websites like TRBCollectCard.net have digital trails leading directly to the industrial city of Veles, North Macedonia.

It’s a city already notorious for being a global hot spot of misinformation and hoax news surrounding Trump that exploded during the 2016 election campaign.

That year, over 100 partisan websites sprouted in Veles publishing fake news tailored to go viral on social feeds with provocative headlines aligned with Trump’s rhetoric. Ad revenue from these hoax sites generated millions in revenue for their North Macedonian operators.

While those operations have since waned, it appears they pivoted to this new Trump Bucks scam….

One former Veles resident told NBC News that once young people in the city realized they could earn “half a million euros or 1 million or 2 million euros overnight” compared to a regular salary, many jumped in.

A local programmer says he’s even been approached about setting up the websites to effectuate the scam, but turned the offers down as he realized they were likely breaking the law.

Sophisticated sales funnels seem to have also originated from the city, including encrypted Telegram groups used to coordinate ad campaigns and content promotion across social media channels.

The shady marketers used fake celebrity endorsements and doctored images which NBC confirmed were synthetic through digital analysis. Many were AI-generated using cutting-edge deepfake technology.

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Meticulous bots on Telegram also provided interested buyers a constant stream of false evidence and propaganda corroborating the Trump Bucks’ validity. They used a strategic mix of conspiracy theories, misinformation, and fear-based messaging to inspire action.

Former FBI cyber crime expert Scott E. Augenbaum told NBC it’s going to be incredibly difficult to track these shadowy groups down:

“If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. I’m just telling people, be careful. Because if we had this one lady in Tennessee, I guarantee you there are thousands of people falling for this scam.”

It’s clear that the scammers put countless man-hours into legitimizing the grift, from setting up fake endorsements and evidence to meticulously crafting narratives across their intricate network of online assets. All to prey on Trump supporters’ hopes for his eventual return to power.

Disturbing Impersonation Campaign Ramps

Up the Con If the Trump Bucks scam itself wasn’t disturbing enough, the scammers seem to have taken the con to an even creepier level – impersonating Trump associates to take money directly from victims.

In the case of 86-year-old Ann Bratton, she was contacted by someone claiming to be “Abigail” from the Trump Rebate Banking system’s support team.

“Abigail” told Bratton she needed to purchase the Trump Cards and then she’d remotely activate the funds loaded onto them. After buying $6,000 worth, she was unable to reach the fake “support” again.

But the Impersonation didn’t stop there…

Days before NBC interviewed Bratton about the scam, she received another chilling message. It was someone posing as “TRB support” telling her they needed an additional $400… or else she’d lose her entire investment of over $30,000 into the Trump Bucks ecosystem.

“What would you do?” the devastated elderly woman asked.

It’s heartbreaking to imagine the unrelenting gaslighting and emotional abuse being carried out by these criminal opportunists to mercilessly drain vulnerable victims dry.

In fact, this very impersonation tactic itself has become a growing worldwide scam…

It’s known as the “Giftah” or “Guerrafa” scam. Incredibly sophisticated crime rings based in Europe and the Middle East hire multi-lingual impersonators to relentlessly berate and manipulate victims using urgency and fear tactics. Their goal is to extort cash transfers and drain bank accounts for months or even years on end.

With the Trump Bucks scam, it appears these same ruthless techniques were leveraged to manipulate victims using trusted Trump personas and associates.

And like so many scams targeting the elderly, there was no limit to the depravity these con artists would sink to in order to pilfer from Trump supporters.

How Banks and US Authorities Have Responded So Far

As the brazen Trump Bucks scam ramped up over the past year, it seems there was little coordinated effort to warn the public or shut it down behind the scenes.

NBC News confirmed that Federal Trade Commission has received at least one complaint against the company “Patriots Dynasty” behind some of the Trump Bucks products.

But when they reached out for additional details, the FTC did not provide a statement.

In the meantime, major bank chains like Bank of America have found themselves dealing directly with customers attempting to cash out their Trump Bucks.

A BoA spokesperson told NBC that “we’ve certainly heard from employees about several people coming in to cash things like that.”

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It’s unclear if individual branch locations or local law enforcement were ever alerted to these incidents as a potential mass fraud in progress.

Things got so bad, BoA felt compelled to publish a memo reiterating that “Bank of America has nothing to do with those products. These are souvenirs.”

Wells Fargo and Chase spokespeople issued similar statements to NBC clarifying they do not and never will accept Trump Bucks or related products as legal tender.

But by that point, the genie was already out of the bottle. And likely hundreds if not thousands of victims had already been swindled out of life savings.

While the FBI has an online cybercrime reporting center called IC3 that solicits complaints, the bureau refused to comment on whether it had opened an official investigation into the global Trump Bucks scam.

A European Union spokesperson also stated they had no knowledge of any investigations targeting the likely Macedonian scam nexus.

Which brings up the disturbing question…

If the scammers behind the Trump Bucks fraud managed to rake in tens of millions from US victims as reports suggest, how much of that illicit haul might they be laundering in anonymous crypto wallets or offshore safe havens?

Will global authorities have the resources and cross-border cooperation required to track these cunning fraudsters down and recover the stolen funds?

Only time will tell if justice is ultimately served to these predatory scammers who mercilessly targeted an already vulnerable community of Trump supporters.

Concluding the Shocking Trump Bucks Scam

Throughout this disturbing saga, several key lessons emerge:

Fervent belief can trump even basic common sense: For Trump supporters, the grifters leveraged their complete faith in Trump’s inevitable return to power. No matter how illogical the premise behind Trump Bucks, that belief overrode critical thinking.

Modern impersonation tactics are a dangerous new frontier: The criminals went way beyond email scams and fake Nigerian prince requests, infiltrating encrypted channels to continuously gaslight victims as “Trump approved” support staff.

New technologies enable unprecedented scam sophistication: The use of AI-generated video, deepfakes, and cutting-edge marketing automation tools on a massive scale was difficult to combat in real time.

Banks and authorities remain unprepared: It seems there was little coordination between banks, law enforcement and consumer protection agencies on the ground to identify, warn against and disrupt this elaborate global multi-million dollar fraud campaign.

No community is too small to house major criminal threats: Veles, a decaying industrial city, once again proved to be a digital crime hotbed at the center of a scam that stretched worldwide.

But most importantly, the Trump Bucks scam exposed a jarring picture of just how vulnerable the elderly and marginalized remain to grifters… especially grifters operating in the ever-evolving digital shadows.

For as long as there are true believers and infinite internet loneliness, predators will have no shortage of prey. Better consumer education and cross-border policing of financial cyber crimes will be imperative to protect future victims.

In the meantime, stay vigilant of “get-rich-quick” stories and unverified Donald Trump financial advice. Because with this community, those deceptions may continue for the unforeseeable future.

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