Scammer Accused Of Ripping Off Over 100 Kickstarters

Scammer Accused Of Ripping Off Over 100 Kickstarters

Someone going by the username "Encik Farhan" stands accused of ripping off around 100 Kickstarter campaigns, exploiting a loophole in the supply chain that's leaving a lot of small-time creators short of needed funds.

So just what was the accused trying to do, and how did they do it? First, "Encik" identified a Kickstarter campaign offering rewards to backers. They would pledge $US1000, then await the receipt of their backer reward (you know, posters, books, shirts, etc). Once they got their swag, the user would then contact their credit card company and dispute the payment, keeping their reward and their money.

One victim, cartoonist Alex Heberling, blew the whistle on "Encik's" conduct, and Kickstarter has now promised to work with Amazon (who are Kickstarter's "payment processor") to "investigate this situation".

It's not the lost rewards that are the big deal here. It's the lost money. Kickstarter campaigns try to only ask for as much as is needed to finish a project; take $US1000 off someone, especially someone only asking for a few grand in the first place, and you can ruin their plans.

So "Encik" wasn't just being a thief, they were being a huge arsehole.

UPDATE - As readers Belthazzar and oldtaku point out, "Encik" is Jawi for "Mister". As in, "Mister Farhan". Just in case you thought it might actually have been their real name.

Kickstarter Respond to Scam Allegation [The Beat, via The Verge]


    Would have thought the bank would have started getting a bit suspicious over him disputing so many payments

    Kickstarter campaigns try to only ask for as much as is needed to finish a project

    Usually a little less since they seem to routinely forget to factor in the production costs/shipping expenses for the backer rewards. If your goal is $200,000, and everyone puts in $50 which comes with a reward that costs $25 to make/ship you're really only meeting a goal of $100,000.

    Also, putting this out there may be pretty much the only way to warn people about him but it's probably not a good scam to make people aware of since it's really easy to replicate. I'm guessing we'll see more of this between now and when the problem is solved (if it ever is).

    How does this guy still own a credit card?

    Doubt this guy will get away with it, there's too much of a paper trail. If he submit claims against the credit card company, both they and Amazon will know exactly who he is. That's to say nothing of the projects that shipped physical products to an address.

    Can rewards etc be sent once amount has been reached and only if amount has been reached?

    having never backed a kickstarter, i thought people would only get their rewards after a sucessful campaign, eliminating problems like this and driving backers to get others to back it so they get their rewards

      Rewards are indeed only sent out once a project is successfully funded and the money has been transferred. As it's stated in the article, once he receives the rewards, which is after the projects are funded and the money is transferred, he contacts his credit card company to dispute the payment, probably saying something like his details have been stolen, etc. The bank then presumably reverses the transaction so he gets his money back and keeps the rewards.

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