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Kickstart scammers


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I should add that it costs the project creator far more than just the loss of the original pledge. Basically it goes like this:


Mr. Farham pledges $1,000 to a small project that needs the money badly. For the sake of math let us assume Mr. Small Project needed only $10,000 to secure funding. He meets goal, in no small part to Mr. Farham.


At end of project, Mr. Farham pays via Amazon, which is good and proper. At this time, Amazon and KS both take their 5% (10%) total cut, offering to the creator $900. This is within the bounds of the Terms of Use for creators, and is expected. Creator overall receives $9,000.


Mr Farham, at some time within the 6 week dispute window disputes the charge - and Amazon, as a responsible creditor, refunds the $1000. To do so, they must withdraw $1000 from the account the creator had the original funds deposited into - an account into which they deposited only $900, if you recall.


Now the creator's balance sheet is NOT ONLY Down 10% of all funds "apparently" collected, because of the 10% cut that is KNOWN, but also down $1000 from the "visible total".


The creator now only has $8000 left and *must* by kickstarter rules and according to the legal contract he signed, fulfill rewards or offer refunds - again, refunds he must pay in full despite having received only 90%. In this manner, a small creator could lose more than just the project, but also their personal savings, etc. If he was forced to refund everybody because the $8k no longer covered production costs, it could be a financial disaster.

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This article says that he waits until he has the physical rewards, too.


Get the high level rewards, then file credit dispute, get your money back.


According to Kickstarter he has done this hundreds of times, so he has piles of stuff he never paid for and hurt hundreds of other people to get.


I cannot say what I think about this on this forum and still keep my job.

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Kickstarter is an elegant system... except for the trolls. That's the whole problem with the internet; there's people on it.

My dislike of pledge trolls who manipulate numbers is almost nothing compared to thieves.


We have safeguards in place, but we're a large company and even so we write off a certain amount every year for chargebacks and theft (such as at conventions). We maintain a vigil on ebay and other sites looking for bootleggers.


But somehow, this guy, targeting the little guy... people who cannot defend themselves. People who had no idea the risk of chargebacks becuase they had never dealt with them...


I'm seriously hulking out here.

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It could be malice


It could be some form of obsessive behaviour...

Have to be involved, have to be an important backer, cant afford it so chargeback to fund the 'next' big thing (an exaggerated form of what you see from backers who talk about pulling out of a KS to back another in the comments during a campaign)


The suggestion that it's for stuff to sell on is probably wrong in this case (although not other), the individual concerned put money into too many high cost things (like web chats with developers) that would not have resale value. CC chargebacks are often limited to 6 months which cut out a bunch of mini based KS projects as decent targets



A big chunk of the single occasion pull outs are buyers remorse (or spouse/partner of buyer remorse), money is spent that should not have been, and these 'insert bad word here' think the easiest ways to get out of their obligation is to pretend their card has been stolen.. If the card company investigates they're busted but where the card company actually is able to recover the money I suspect they may well not bother for a one off claim, so the card owner gets away with it, KS/Amazon get their fees and the poor project organiser looses out

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If you think of it a genuinely stolen/cloned card could be used a lot before the theft was discovered (and lots of people never look at their statements until the card fails to work or the bank rings up and tell them they can't make a payment)


so companies expect to see lots of illegal transactions come up on account when it's reported (mixed with genuine ones if the card is cloned rather than stolen)


add this to multiple cards from different processors it's all to easy to see how this happened


Once somebody has had a card stolen they may get looked at in more detail if it happens again, (but if the card company CAN get their cash back they might not be, and again people can have their card stole more than once, if you use them in high risk places)

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What I don't understand is why it is so easy to do a credit dispute. I guess I can see being able to do it once in a while, but after the first 20 you'd think either the credit card company or amazon would wise-up and stop allowing this person to do it.

because of this:


"I'm sorry that your credit cards keeps getting compromised, sir. But now it's no longer our concern and anybody that steals your card gets away with it because it's happened so often we aren't going to stop it anymore"


NO credit card company can ever say that.

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My creditcard company "always" (twice) phones me to say my card has been compromised and checks the recent ones to see when it started (both times it was within hours of it happening) and sent me a new one.


I have no positive words to add to the whole fraud thing. I just cant understand why people do it. At my lfgs petty theft (chess pieces, magic boosters) also happens. I just do not understand how you can harm somebody else like that and potentially ruin the fun for not just the person you stole from, but all backers/visitors.

Edited by Damenace
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We have safeguards in place, but we're a large company and even so we write off a certain amount every year for chargebacks and theft (such as at conventions).



Y'know, I never actually thought about theft at conventions. But, yeah, I'd guess there would be. I share an intense dislike of thieves, largely motivated in this case because, well, you're pretty swell people. Is it weird that people robbing from you feels like they're robbing from me? If it is, I don't care. Because I remember when the pledge manager messed up and had me listed as still getting a Kickstarter Sophie even though I traded her out - and I messaged you and Kit to alert and correct it so I didn't wind up with one I didn't pay for. (I didn't, in case anybody wonders how it turned out - not sure if that's because I mentioned it or because what I saw was different from what the system recorded anyway)


Not just because it was the right thing to do, but because you folks are so freakin' nice to me (and us) that the thought of taking advantage is anathema. If I'd gotten greedy, Sophie would stare at me with accusing eyes. And if I hid her in the drawer, it wouldn't help. Because there would still be the beating of that hideous heart...


Whatever, it just seriously ticks me off that you folks work so hard to treat us all fair and proper and yet there are people out there who wouldn't think twice about a screw-job just for some kicks or "free" stuff.

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But we're a faceless and evil monolithic corporate power and stealing from us is the little guy getting one over on The Man.


You're the gosh-darn nicest faceless evil monolithic corporate power I've ever met. And I would be proud to serve as propaganda minister/ company mouthpiece. Which would be pretty much what I do now, except you could tell me what to tell people and if they got mad at me and called me names, well, I'm a goblin so I'd consider them compliments.


Just something to keep in mind should a situation ever arise where you require an emergency scapepinata. I've got a vest, and heal quickly.

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So I'm not sure I understand the motivation behind something like this; is it to get stuff for free or to mess with project creators? It must be the last of these I'm thinking because in this particular instance (Werewolf Changing Breeds Deluxe edition, I'm a backer btw), this... person pledged (and was charged, if I'm understanding things correctly) $2500 for which he received 13 PDF's (the pledge was also for the printed deluxe book, which hasn't been delivered, and a four hour RPG session with one of the creators via Skype, which I don't think has happened yet).


Isn't $2500 a helluva lot of money to put on the line for 13 PDF's? How does this thing work, could this guy be 100% sure he'd get his money back?



He could basically be sure he'd get it back until exactly what did happen does: someone goes "hey this is kinda suspicious, we should look further into this." Which will usually be the people being cheated rather than the CC/payment company, who for various reasons don't have a lot of incentive to investigate.


Unfortunately, this can take a while, and since most scammers and criminals are, in fact, pretty stupid, chances are they'll have racked up a bunch by then ("I got away with this 10 times, surely I will continue to get away with it forever!").

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Thanks for the insight into the KS process.


I've wondered about theft as well. I know that the World is not necessarily a great place, and it's full of people who are also not great. I guess I just like to believe that people who share the passions I do are better people, though there is a massive amount of evidence to the contrary.


Is bootlegging a big issue?


@Buglips I'm absolutely with you. My conscience is far too prickly for me to try to pull one over, and ever feel good about it. I have enough demons already without adding any more intentionally.

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