A recent investigation by the New York Times has shown that the Trump campaign organization duped thousands of Americans into making weekly donations automatically and against their will and intentions. The organization has now been forced to refund $122 million back to donors since almost all the donors were billed severally in unintentional donations to the Trump campaign from November to December 2020.
The way it happened, many donors signed up to make one-off donations to the campaign, but they found that their accounts were billed recurrently every month and then every week in the days before the election. This situation caused thousands of Trump supporters to file many complaints to banks and credit card companies after thinking they were victims of scams.
One of the victims, Stacy Blatt, was in hospice for cancer last year September when he learned that former President Donald Trump needed funds urgently to prosecute his campaign. The 63-year-old cancer patient donated $500 as a one-off event, but he got debited another $500 the following day, and then another $500 the following week, and every week throughout October and into November. He became unable to pay for his utility and rent because his bank account had been emptied.
Another victim was 78-year-old Victor Amelino who donated $990 online to the Trump campaign organization. Before Amelino knew it, $990 was withdrawn several times from his account to the Trump campaign until he had been charged over $8,000. According to him, he is a retired man and there is no way on earth he can afford to donate all “that damn money” to Trump’s political campaign.
Ultimately, the Trump organization refunded about $122 million to more than 600,000 donors while the Biden campaign refunded $5.6 million to more than 37,000 donors before the end of December last year. When Trump lost the election in January, he dipped his hands into the excess funds he had raised fraudulently through recurring donations, to prosecute the fraud claims he had that the election was rigged.
All the Trump campaign donors donated their funds on WinRed, the contribution portal used by the Republican Party. The Democratic Party supporters use ActBlue to donate funds to the party. But given the fact that the Trump campaign operation was running out of money funds as the election approached fast, his party’s contribution portal used pre-checked boxes to dupe unsuspecting donors into being charged severally on a weekly basis for two months.