4 Internet Rip-Offs That Targeted Trump Supporters

Donald Trump is a liar, a fraud, and a scammer. It's no wonder, then, that so many scams have been set up to target his supporters. People are just following his lead. Look at how ...

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4
Alex Jones' Mind-Expanding Supplements Were Fake Nonsense

Before he was cancelled from the internet for stuff like siccing conspiracy theorists on grieving families, Alex Jones made major bank selling supplements, vitamins, and other "health" products to gullible uncles everywhere. It's only fair. Your aunt has her magical jade vagina egg; why shouldn't he be able to cram thorium up his butt? Actually, there is a good reason: These supplements were (and still are!) overpriced, overhyped garbage.

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In 2017, the six most popular supplements Jones sold were analyzed by Labdoor, which found that precisely zero delivered on the "incredible" benefits they claimed. A concoction which promised consumers "major support against environmental and dietary toxins," for instance, turned out to be standard medicinal iodine sold at a huge markup. Which is a shame, considering that thanks to Jones' best friend, we're not getting "major support against environmental and dietary toxins" from the FDA or EPA anymore.

When Labdoor tested other products Jones was shilling, like "Anthroplex" (which promised to help "stimulate vitality") and "Child Ease" (which promised to help "improve concentration and attention" in children), they found that while they did contain healthy ingredients, the dosages were so low that they were practically useless. The kindest thing Labdoor was able to say about these supplements was that, of the ones they tested, none were found to contain dangerous chemicals. Incidentally, two that they didn't test, well ...

Though lead poisoning does go a long way toward explaining why Jones is so ... Alex Jonesy.GizmodoThough lead poisoning does go a long way toward explaining why Jones is so ... Alex Jonesy.

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3
QAnon Is Nothing But A Huge Grift

QAnon is the name for a kooky conspiracy theory which alleges that the country is controlled by an elite cabal of pedophiles (honestly, that scans) which Trump will be taking down any second now (OK, never mind). That's according to "Q," a supposed anonymous high-ranking military officer embedded within the Trump administration who spends all day leaking information about the case to 4chan. Because that's the best way to go about dismantling a vast government conspiracy.

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However, as NBC News' Brandy Zadrozny and Ben Collins revealed last year, the sudden popularity of QAnon wasn't an organic phenomenon. It was a calculated attempt by three internet randos to go viral and hopefully one day cash in on it. Back in 2017, "anon" postings like Q's were everywhere on 4chan. Then two of the site's moderators -- known as "Pamphlet Anon" and "BaruchtheScribe" -- seized onto Q and roped in YouTuber Tracy Diaz to help the message "go wider." Diaz's first video on Q, titled "/POL/- Q Clearance Anon - Is it #happening???," immediately went viral, and she soon pivoted entirely toward discussing and analyzing Q postings. As Diaz said in a now-deleted video, "Because I cover Q, I got an audience."

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She also got a fat paycheck, too. Diaz would end every video asking viewers to fund her "research" via Patreon and/or PayPal. The mods who alerted her to Q didn't do too badly, either. After QAnon was picked up by Infowars, both Pamphlet Anon and BaruchtheScribe appeared on the network to discuss it -- and direct viewers to their bustling communities on Reddit, Facebook, 8chan, and "Patriot's Soapbox," a 24/7 livestream channel helmed by Pamphlet Anon and funded by viewers.

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Oh, and there are some in the community who believe that Diaz et al are themselves responsible for the Q postings, after a livestream allegedly showed Pamphlet logged into Q's account. Between the viewer-funded live streams, ad-covered websites and videos, T-shirts, books, apps, and other merch, we're seriously hard-pressed to find someone who's not making serious cash off this insanity.

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Related: How Trump Gave Us The Weirdest Conspiracy Theory Ever

2
Ian Hawes Made A Million Bucks With A Shady PAC That Offered "Dinner With Trump"

In the months before the 2016 presidential election, the Trump campaign held a contest: Donate, and you could win a chance to have dinner with Ronald McDonald's neurosyphilitic grandfather. Thousands upon thousands of people applied. Altogether they wound up giving over one million dollars ... to a scammer.

You'd think they would've chosen a picture where Trump wasn't wearing his Time to suffer through this bullshit face.Via POLITICOYou'd think they would've chosen a picture where Trump wasn't wearing his "Time to suffer through this bullshit" face.

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While the official campaign was holding its contest, Ian Hawes started his own identical competition wherein he offered the exact same thing. Over 20,000 people donated to Hawes' PAC over three months, netting him a cool mil -- at which point he took the money, channeled it into his own companies, and told everyone to please direct their complaints directly to the toilet.

After Politico busted the scheme, the real Trump campaign issued a cease-and-desist and accused Hawes of defrauding hardworking, salt-of-the-earth MAGA-holes. Only the real "Dinner with Donald" competition could take a bunch of people's money and then not announce a winner.

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1
There's A Popular Get-Rich-Quick Scheme Involving The Iraqi Dinar

Donald Trump won the presidency not just by appealing to virulent racism, but also by capitalizing on his reputation as a financial savant and big-time deal-maker. It's been decades and he's yet to demonstrate any of that, but that hasn't stopped internet scammers from preying on his supporters' belief in his economic acumen. Chiefly with promises that the only thing standing between them and untold riches is a fistful of worthless banknotes.

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In scammer circles, the "Iraqi Dinar Special" is a con in which currency sellers persuade people to sink their money into Iraqi dinars. The idea is that in the years to come, Trump will revalue that currency and thus make these investors millions of dollars. Like all good scams, there's a sliver of truth here. The Iraqi dinar was at its height worth $3-4, meaning that anyone who bought them for cents really would make a fortune if the currency were to be revalued to anywhere near that level. The only problem is that the dinar hasn't been worth anything over a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a dollar since before the Gulf War.

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The scam took off after Trump was elected and held a press conference wherein he promised that all currencies would soon "be on a level playing field." Between this and the (false) rumors that he has his own stockpile of dinars, scammers knew to start targeting MAGA-holes. And it worked! Supporters have bought up thousands upon thousands of dollars' worth of dinar in anticipation of the big "RV" that'll make them millionaires.

As of this writing, the Great RV hasn't happened. The most valuable pieces of paper in the dinar-collecting community are the numerous warnings issued by state regulators that this is a giant scam. Oh, and there are also the indictments issued against the currency-sellers who are not only propagating this conspiracy theory, but making a tidy cut from every sale -- sometimes in the region of 25%.

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If we were Dinarians, we might wonder why these sellers were so sure of the coming financial bounty, yet selling their own dinar and taking their cut in American dollars. But we're not cut out for the ride-or-die seven-dimensional chess game that is dinar collecting. You know, unlike the high-rollers who went big early and now spend their days begging Trump to do the RV before the loan sharks take their legs.

You can find more from Adam on Twitter! He also has a newsletter about depressing history facts. (It's not as sad it sounds, promise.)

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For more, check out Why Donald Trump Is The New Bad Guy From Back To The Future:

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