GiGadgets | GiGadgets | How to avoid Kickstarter scams?

How to avoid Kickstarter scams?
We've got a few tips
Jane Wise
By Jane Wise
Jan 08, 2018

Credit: Trulioo

In 2012, a company launched its campaign on Kickstarter, swept a swooping $2.4 million in pledge and was later sold to Facebook for $2 billion in 2014. Yes, that company is Oculus. And its campaign opened door to future revolution of VR industry.


One year after, a backpack concept called iBackPack, which offered  charging and hotspot for iPhones and extra security, won thousands of backers' heart and collected over $720,000 in pledge on Indiegogo. But not long after, it literally vanished with no more updates and discontinued YouTube channel, leaving behind a lot of unhappy people.


And Zano, a drone producer from Wales, grabbed eyes from over 12,000 generous backers and claimed over $3 million in pledge on Kickstarter. Now the company finds itself has written a check it cannot cash, and is still unable to deliver the promised goody drone to the project backers.


Moral of the three stories: people are understandably looking for their own "Oculus" on KS or Indiegogo. Yet these crowdfunding platforms sometimes remain a relatively shaky land for hopeful returns. KS 's Terms of Use state clearly that "We don't oversee project's performance, and we don't mediate disputes between users" and “Responsibility for finishing a project lies entirely with the project creator. Kickstarter doesn’t hold funds on creators’ behalf, cannot guarantee creators’ work, and does not offer refunds.”


So we prepared some tips for you to avoid crowdfunding scams:

  1. Check the campaign's official website. Over-simplicity could equate sketchiness.
  2. Use Google to search the project and creator. If it's filled with negative search results, you know it's hot water to circumvent.
  3. Again, use Google to search the product images to make sure they are not taken from other e-commerce sites.
  4. Check the comment section to learn some real feedback from real users.
  5. Look into other backers to see if they are just paid-baits to lure more backers.
  6. See if the creator has relatively comprehensive information: is it just an email? Because of KS and Indiegogo's limited accountability measures, the creators can easily disappear to play "catch me if you can".
  7. Check what other projects are connected to the specific project. If other projects are filled with shady comments , it's trouble to steer away from.
  8. If the project runs simultaneously on different platforms, beware if the creators just want to take advantage of the buzz.
  9. Check the history of the creators and projects on sites reporting crowdfunding scams like 
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