The conservative movement during the Trump presidency has been marked by a proliferation of scams and grifts that have targeted some of the president’s most ardent supporters.
In fact, as the following five examples show, scamming Trump supporters can be incredibly profitable, as some scammers have come away with tens of millions of dollars for their efforts.
Here are five ridiculous scams that Trump supporters have actually fallen for.
1.) A crowdfunding campaign to build Trump’s border wall raises $20 million.
Earlier this year, thousands of Trump supporters donated their money to a GoFundMe page that promised to construct the president’s long-promised border wall if Congress refused to cough up the funds.
After months of missed deadlines regarding progress updates, however, some of the people who donated to the page now feel they’ve been fleeced. In particular, donors have been particularly upset that the project’s founders aren’t even letting them know where the purported wall is being built.
The group’s organizers are claiming that they have to keep the wall’s location a secret to protect it from liberal agitators who might disrupt its construction. This excuse hasn’t flown with many donors, who have been pelting the organizers’ Facebook page with angry comments.
2.) A man with no connections to Trump scams Trump supporters out of $1 million by dangling the prospect of “Dinner With Donald.”
During the 2016 presidential campaign, a man named Ian Hawes registered the domain name DinnerWithTrump.org and took out ads on Facebook asking Trump supporters to give him money for the chance to win a dinner with Trump himself.
Hawes’ efforts were richly rewarded, as he fooled many Trump fans into believing they were giving to the Trump campaign, when in reality they were sending money to Hawes’ own PAC.
“I feel ripped off and taken advantage of,” one Trump supporter told Politico. “This is horrible. That was not my intent.”
3.) One of Trump’s own top outside advisers gets caught swindling Trump supporters with a fundraising pitch that’s designed to look like it’s directly tied to the president.
David Bossie, a longtime fixture within the conservative movement, had been one of Trump’s top outside advisers — until he got nailed for running a scam that infuriated the White House.
As Axios reported earlier this month, a Bossie-run political organization “has raised millions of dollars by saying it’s supporting Trump-aligned conservative candidates — but has spent only a tiny fraction of that money supporting candidates.”
Instead, Axios reported, the group “has spent nearly all its money — raised mostly from small-dollar donations — on more fundraising, as well as administrative costs, which include Bossie’s salary.”
This scam was so blatant that the Trump White House angrily denounced it upon learning of it.
4.) Trump supporters get duped by an ancient scam involving Iraq’s currency.
Investment scams surrounding the Iraqi dinar have been around ever since the United States invaded the country 16 years ago.
However, the scam got a new lease on life when it started targeting Trump supporters.
As the Daily Beast reported last year, scammers who have been promoting the Iraqi dinar as an investment vehicle have been telling Trump supporters that the president and the Iraqi government are conducting negotiations to “revalue” the currency that each dinar is worth three-to-four times the amount of the United States dollar.
This would be a massive boost in the currencies valuation, which now has a value of less than $0.001 for every US dollar — and it means people who invested in the dinar would become instant millionaires.
Unfortunately for these Trump supporters, however, this long-promised revaluation of Iraq’s currency will never happen.
5.) A woman bilks Trump supporters out of thousands of dollars by claiming that her liberal family disowned her because she supported the president.
Last year, a young black woman took to Twitter wearing a MAGA hat and claimed that her parents had taken away all of her funding for college because they hated Trump so much.
She then asked Trump supporters if they could chip in to help her pay for school — and they proceeded to fork over more than $150,000.
Later, however, the woman admitted the entire thing was a scam.
In an interview with Elle, she said that Trump supporters are so desperate to prove they aren’t racists that they’ll throw money at any person of color who claims to be a closeted Republican.