Author Topic: Protect yourself from indiegogo and kickstarter frauds  (Read 1307 times)

Offline iam4liberty

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Protect yourself from indiegogo and kickstarter frauds
« on: July 28, 2018, 04:26:00 PM »
Just a friendly reminder to be careful investing your hard earned money on indiegogo and kickstarter items.  There are many out there preying on preppers by raising money for devices promising impossible results.  We have a lot of talented people on the forum and think we should be proud of the job done separating the wheat from the chaff.  For example, we showed how gotenna was viable (it got delivered on time to great reviews) and gravitylight was not (it had poor performance even being rejected by trial users in 3rd world and quickly closed down).  But the amount of fraudulent ones keep growing. 

An example is the fontus self-filling water bottle which got a lot of preppers excited. This video provides a detailed analysis of how these scams play out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lYFH_bXM5gU

One key indicator is that if it is heavily promoted in the mainstream media as solving a world crisis (energy, water, poverty) it is probably a scam trying to hit emotional triggers.  Before supporting, it may be worthwhile to send a question to the TSP experts or post on a forum. 

Just remember, if they dont deliver you dont get a refund!

Offline iam4liberty

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Re: Protect yourself from indiegogo and kickstarter frauds
« Reply #1 on: July 28, 2018, 10:12:59 PM »
As another example here is a funny rant video showing how in a few hours gravitylight specs were exceeded using old bicycle parts::https://youtu.be/0UoERSKi7-Q

Yet, they are are back again dipping into another $121k: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/nowlight-the-next-generation-gravitylight-camping-design#/comments

Offline Mr. Bill

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Re: Protect yourself from indiegogo and kickstarter frauds
« Reply #2 on: July 29, 2018, 12:03:17 PM »
A few of these get covered on the Metabunk forum, mostly in this section:

https://www.metabunk.org/science-and-pseudoscience.f4/

Here's a Metabunk thread about the Fontus:

https://www.metabunk.org/fontus-self-filling-water-bottle-indiegogo-scam-campaign.t7495/

Offline Mr. Bill

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Re: Protect yourself from indiegogo and kickstarter frauds
« Reply #3 on: July 29, 2018, 12:51:27 PM »
Here's another project currently raising funds on Indiegogo:

DELTA LAMBDA: Fit 1000 Times More Data on Devices
A Compression Software Revolution, Expanding Any Device's Data Storage a Hundredfold Above the Cloud


(I'm intentionally omitting the link because I don't want to improve their search engine ranking, but search on "delta lambda compression" and you'll find it.)

They claim to have a new data compression algorithm that will reduce the size of files by 1000-fold, even already-compressed data such as Blu-Ray movies.  This is mathematically impossible.

https://www.metabunk.org/debunked-delta-lambda-compression.t9848/

Offline iam4liberty

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Re: Protect yourself from indiegogo and kickstarter frauds
« Reply #4 on: July 29, 2018, 12:52:19 PM »
As an example, note that nowlight claims manual chaging is faster than either solar or wall charging.  In fact, per table they claim a manual charge time of 24 minutes!



In technical parlance, that is a 2.5 C charge rate.  For the Lithium Ion battery type they spec'd a 0.5 C rate is typical.  Even the fastest charging methods available for an iphone X can only reach 50% charge in a half hour.



Given that we live in a time where science reporters for major publications claim planes travel at twice the speed of light, it is important to think critically and seek advise before spending money on unproven items.


« Last Edit: July 29, 2018, 01:14:46 PM by iam4liberty »

Offline iam4liberty

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Re: Protect yourself from indiegogo and kickstarter frauds
« Reply #5 on: July 29, 2018, 12:55:27 PM »
A few of these get covered on the Metabunk forum, mostly in this section:

https://www.metabunk.org/science-and-pseudoscience.f4/

Here's a Metabunk thread about the Fontus:

https://www.metabunk.org/fontus-self-filling-water-bottle-indiegogo-scam-campaign.t7495/

Some good analyses on this site.  Thanks!

Offline iam4liberty

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Re: Protect yourself from indiegogo and kickstarter frauds
« Reply #6 on: July 29, 2018, 01:07:44 PM »
Here is the huff post article promoting the fontus: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/11/17/water-from-air-fontus_n_6160136.html.  You would think a science/tech writer would have a STEM background of some type.
« Last Edit: July 29, 2018, 01:17:22 PM by iam4liberty »

Offline Mr. Bill

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Re: Protect yourself from indiegogo and kickstarter frauds
« Reply #7 on: July 29, 2018, 04:01:53 PM »


 :rofl:

They've fixed it, but the original is still in Google's cache.  (To be fair, it was only the headline and one image caption that got it wrong -- the article itself said "speed of sound".)

Offline fratermus

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Re: Protect yourself from indiegogo and kickstarter frauds
« Reply #8 on: July 30, 2018, 07:54:41 AM »
One key indicator is that if it is heavily promoted in the mainstream media as solving a world crisis (energy, water, poverty) it is probably a scam trying to hit emotional triggers.

The MM hardly has a monopoly on luring the gullible in with emotional triggers.


Offline iam4liberty

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Re: Protect yourself from indiegogo and kickstarter frauds
« Reply #9 on: July 30, 2018, 09:02:55 AM »
The MM hardly has a monopoly on luring the gullible in with emotional triggers.

True.  But for kickstarters and indiegogo campaigns, this is a pretty good tip.  They need the MSM to give them credibility as they cant provide actual evidence of performance.  This is then followed by targetted website csmpaign with clickbaiting titles.  Right now refugees are the big news item so that is the curent trigger.

For example, you get the register to do this:

https://www.theregister.co.uk/2018/05/01/nowlight_launch/
Grab your lamp, you've pulled: Brits punt life-saving gravity-powered light
The winch that saves Christmas, boffins hope




Then you target specific groups like preppers via websites like this:

https://www.howitworksdaily.com/nowlight/
Indiegogo campaign set to revolutionise disaster relief with off-grid power source

The sad thing is as people get burned they just drop out of using these platforms.  So legitimate inventors/entrepreneurs have a harder and harder time.

Offline fratermus

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Re: Protect yourself from indiegogo and kickstarter frauds
« Reply #10 on: July 30, 2018, 02:17:29 PM »
I've been putting my charitable funds to work at Kiva for a few years.  About 90% gets repaid and rolled back over into the next microloan. 

The two countries I've had the most defaults in are Kenya and the United States.  :-o

Offline iam4liberty

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Re: Protect yourself from indiegogo and kickstarter frauds
« Reply #11 on: July 30, 2018, 06:31:30 PM »
I've been putting my charitable funds to work at Kiva for a few years.  About 90% gets repaid and rolled back over into the next microloan. 

The two countries I've had the most defaults in are Kenya and the United States.  :-o

I've added funds into KIVA when they have had matching deals.  I've not had any non-payments. The kickstarter/indiegogo items are on a whole different scale. 

Take the gravitylight as an example again.  They promised delivering 100,000+ units to poor people.  They claimed that with a couple hundred thousand investment they could get price down to $5 per unit, would match kerosene lamps in light, and that the devices could be used for decades.  Based on this they raised among other funds:

Indiegogo Campaign #1: $400k
Indiegogo Campaign #2: $400k
British Government: $300k (£200k)
Shell Corporation: $225k (£150k)

Here are the links:

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/gravitylight-lighting-for-developing-countries
https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/gravitylight-2-made-in-africa
https://eandt.theiet.org/content/articles/2016/10/gravity-powered-lamp-wins-funding-for-roll-out-in-developing-world/
https://www.shell.com/energy-and-innovation/make-the-future/turning-gravity-into-light.html?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIv8_gw_7H3AIVl7rACh27LAoUEAAYASAAEgIoHfD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds

That is  at least $1.3M.  What did they deliver?  "GravityLights to 9077 people worldwide" with "3,000 in Kenya" trials. After the product was rejected they learned these units would require "significant brightness and duration increases" and improvements in durability to be useful.  Oh, and remember that $5 price promise?  Well it became $10, then $15, then $30, and finally $70-$80 per unit.  In the end they posted that they "have come to the conclusion that a significant product and market re-think would be needed to realise the impact we set out to achieve in the way we wanted to achieve it...we have taken the extremely hard decision, to close The GravityLight Foundation." 

So big question is where did all that money go which included taxpayer funding?  Now the same group is back with a new campaign under a different name.

Here are two more articles with advice on avoiding these:

https://www.digitaltrends.com/cool-tech/crowdfunding-tips-avoid-scams-kickstarter-indiegogo/
Don’t get burned! How to back crowdfunding projects the smart way

https://www.geektime.com/2017/04/19/these-kickstarter-scammers-took-the-money-and-ran-the-full-story-and-tips-on-how-to-avoid-being-a-victim-of-crowdfunding-fraud/
These Kickstarter scammers took the money and ran: the full story and tips on how to avoid being a victim of crowdfunding fraud

Offline iam4liberty

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Re: Protect yourself from indiegogo and kickstarter frauds
« Reply #12 on: September 24, 2018, 04:10:08 PM »
Update.  Fontus seeking bankruptcy protection after creator fled with over a quarter million and delivered nothing:  https://youtu.be/WopuF9vD7KE and https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/fontus-the-self-filling-water-bottles#/updates/all.  At best, backers will get 20% back.  Most will receive 0%.

On September 10th 2018 the Commercial Court in Vienna, Austria, opened reorganisation proceedings against Fontus Water Technology GmbH. The company is offering a quota of 20 %. Creditors of Fontus Water Technology GmbH need to lodge their claims in Euros with the Bankruptcy Court. It is recommended to use the attached form. The form has to be send by mail to the Bankruptcy Court Handelsgericht Wien, Marxergasse 1A, A-1030 Vienna, Austria. The filing fee is Euro 23,00 and has to be paid directly to the bank account of the Insolvency Court IBAN  AT77 0100 0000 0546 0470, BIC BUNDATWW. This fee will not be refunded. It is not necessary for Creditors to contact the Bankruptcy Court or the Insolvency Administrator.

Nowlight, after missing promised updates and not responding to backers questions in timely manner,  just confirmed they arent able to deliver to planned schedule:

However, these delays unfortunately mean we are behind schedule with manufacturing now planned in November - and it’s therefore unlikely that your nowlight will reach you by Christmas. We are doing our best to hasten the process but wanted to flag this as early as possible.

It's a great disappointment to us and we sincerely apologise for the delay.

We'll keep you posted over this crucial next couple of months as we progress towards production.


Please take steps to protect yourself from scammers preying on the prepper community.
« Last Edit: September 24, 2018, 04:20:32 PM by iam4liberty »

Offline iam4liberty

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Re: Protect yourself from indiegogo and kickstarter frauds
« Reply #13 on: November 15, 2018, 01:51:35 PM »
Add gofundme to the list.  Be careful with these sites.  You really have to vet the entity running the campaign.  The sites themselves allow this and offer no protection to the users.

https://www.foxnews.com/us/gofundme-scam-how-a-homeless-man-new-jersey-couple-allegedly-conspired-to-create-fake-sob-story
GoFundMe scam? How a homeless man, New Jersey couple's alleged fake sob story unfolded

From heartwarming to hoax in less than a year?

Officials say the viral story of a homeless man's selfless act — giving his last $20 to a stranded motorist — was actually an elaborate ruse designed to enrich a scheming threesome, who pocketed nearly half a million dollars in donations before a squabble over the money unraveled the plot.

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Re: Protect yourself from indiegogo and kickstarter frauds
« Reply #14 on: November 15, 2018, 02:06:28 PM »
Add gofundme to the list.  Be careful with these sites.  You really have to vet the entity running the campaign.  The sites themselves allow this and offer no protection to the users.

https://www.foxnews.com/us/gofundme-scam-how-a-homeless-man-new-jersey-couple-allegedly-conspired-to-create-fake-sob-story
GoFundMe scam? How a homeless man, New Jersey couple's alleged fake sob story unfolded

From heartwarming to hoax in less than a year?

Officials say the viral story of a homeless man's selfless act — giving his last $20 to a stranded motorist — was actually an elaborate ruse designed to enrich a scheming threesome, who pocketed nearly half a million dollars in donations before a squabble over the money unraveled the plot.


Unbelieveable, the gall of these slimeballs?!

And if there'd been a little more honor amongst these thieves, we'd never have been the wiser.