We Want to Hear About the Worst Crowdfunding Scams and Failures

Crowdfunding is a great way to raise money. It’s also a great way to hardcore scam people, and we’re looking for the worst swindles, hoodwinks, and old-fashioned ponzi schemes populating the teeming and poorly-regulated underbelly of the money-grubbing dream industry that you’ve seen.

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Most major platforms, from Kickstarter to GoFundMe, have a deliberately lax approach to rooting out bullshit. There’s really no incentive to take a hard line: The proliferation of scams has left plenty of frustrated donors, but it hasn’t stopped people from pulling out their wallets. When projects get funded, these platforms take a cut—so as long as negative publicity is outweighed by sweet, sweet scam cash, crowdfunding platforms are going to remain fertile ground for scams.

That sucks. And while everyone should keep in mind that giving money to crowdfunding campaigns will never have a guaranteed outcome—it’s donating money to support an idea, not investing in or buying a finished product—it’s not okay that crowdfunding sites are playing dumb and getting rich by enabling fraud. We want to put more pressure on them to enforce quality control and help people get refunds from scammers. We want to raise awareness about how frequently people get away with ripping off crowdfunding supporters.

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If you know of a fraudulent crowdfunding campaign, we want to hear about it. You can email me directly at kate.knibbs@gizmodo.com, or hit up tips@gizmodo.com.

GIF by Jim Cooke

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DISCUSSION

Here’s one in progress: a magical VPN/anonymity box that, amongst other things, purports to make your packets travel faster than others’ for gaming, speed of light be damned.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/10097…

Heads up! If you’re an online gamer get ready to experience a disgustingly cool boost in network performance. Your data travels faster than theirs!

The infosec claims made are also dubious- if there’s any merit to it, it sounds like whomever is in charge of marketing wrote this whole thing entirely in a vacuum. And we’re still waiting on where the location of their “open source” data is.