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Crypto Fraudsters Target Trump MAGA Supporters

Crypto Fraudsters Target Trump MAGA Supporters
Crypto Fraudsters Target Trump MAGA Supporters

 


Last month, former president and convicted felon Donald Trump announced that his campaign would accept cryptocurrency donations. In the weeks since, cybercrime detection firm Netcraft has uncovered dozens of fraudulent websites seeking to target Trump supporters and defraud them of their crypto, according to a report shared exclusively with WIRED.

Netcraft discovered that in the days leading up to the announcement, scammers registered domains with common misspellings, hoping to capture supporters intending to access donaldjtrump.com. A domain registered to donalbjtrump.com was a near-perfect replica of the current Trump campaign website. And although the Trump campaign accepts donations through Coinbase, a cryptocurrency exchange, some of the fraudulent websites instead appear to use portals purporting to resemble Coingate, a blockchain and crypto payments processor.

As a victim, it wouldn't be very obvious whether the real campaign was using Coinbase payments rather than direct cryptocurrencies, says Rob Duncan, head of research at Netcraft. The way it was announced is that Donald Trump accepts cryptocurrency donations, when in reality it's quite, it's a little more subtle.

A second wave of fake websites emerged immediately after Trump's May 30 conviction on 34 counts of falsifying business records to pay porn star Stormy Daniels. In the hours following his conviction, the campaign raised more than $34 million in donations. Cybercriminals appeared to anticipate this interest and were ready to capitalize on the donations flowing to the Trump campaign following the verdict.

Criminals like to use events like this to base their scams on current events, topics that people are interested in and that people are more likely to click links on, Duncan says. Following the October 7 attacks and the subsequent conflict in Palestine, Duncan says Netcraft identified several donation scams, targeting people on both sides of the conflict.

They want to get cryptocurrencies from anyone. And they don't care about their political beliefs, Duncan says.

Duncan adds that checking the blockchain, none of the scams appear to have been successful yet, but he suspects this may be because they are relatively new and may not be active yet.

The Trump campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

Cryptocurrencies can be particularly useful to criminals because they are largely unregulated and not subject to the same constraints as traditional financial institutions. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigations' 2023 Internet Crime Report, crypto investment scams cost people approximately $3.94 billion. According to Duncan, cryptography is obviously a very good mechanism for criminals to use. There is no way to cancel payments; once the money is in the criminal's wallet, it disappears.

Trump's recent support for crypto is a turnaround from his presidency. In 2019, Trump declared that he was not a fan of cryptocurrencies in a series of posts on X, then on Twitter. We only have one real currency in the United States. It's called the American dollar! he posted at the time.

Sources

1/ https://Google.com/

2/ https://www.wired.com/story/maga-crypto-scammers-donald-trump/

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