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“Doom”ed false promises

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Earn rewards for supporting a project you believe in? That’s what “crowdfunding” is all about.

Here’s how it works: “Creators” think of projects. To pay for those projects, they ask for small amounts of money from lots of people, usually through online platforms like Kickstarter or Indiegogo. Often, creators offer rewards to contributors. So far, so good … as long as the creators keep their end of the bargain.

The FTC just settled its first crowdfunding case against a creator who didn’t keep his promises. According to the FTC, Erik Chevalier, using the name “The Forking Path Co.,” said he was raising money to create a board game called “The Doom That Came to Atlantic City.” He promised that he’d use the money to make the game. He also promised specific rewards for contributing – like an early version of the game or pewter game figurines.

Can you guess what’s coming? Right. He never made the board game. He never sent rewards. And he never gave consumers their money back.    

The FTC’s complaint says that Chevalier’s promises were deceptive. The case offers a classic lesson in consumer protection law: when you make a promise, you have to deliver.

How can you avoid crowdfunding frauds like this? Check out the creator’s background and reviews:

  • Has the creator launched other products successfully?
  • Has the creator supported other projects? 
  • What does the creator promise?

Some crowdfunding platforms encourage their creators to follow best practices.

If you learn about a crowdfunding scam:   

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit



Very good info. It's a scam many consumers aren't aware of.

When I get these emails or Notifications, I send them to SPAM or DELETE them after I remove me from the listing agent responsible. That is after I remove all of my personal information. As for SNAIL MAIL, the same thing applies. 'NUFF SAID

My last comment was submitted for review "Thanks! Your comment has been submitted for review." However I was presented with "CAPTCHA session reuse attack detected." This is completely untrue. I merely took a long time being thorough and entered the Captcha advised. If the session times out or the Captcha is no longer correct it SHOULD allow us to update a new captcha and tell us what that is instead of imply we are "attacking" Poor form

I just read about a case that was settled about fraudsters promising a Free Ipad, if you entered a code at their website and your zipcode so they could ship it to you. Most of the activities took place in 2013, there are more details if you search out the story, BUT, while they found the fraudsters guilty, to the tune of several hundred of thousands of dollars, the penalty was SUSPENDED because the guilty didn't have the money to pay. They were admonished from doing bad things like that ever again (oh my), but fine SUSPENDED? Like they are not hiding the money somewhere? Where is the Justice? What about jail time? What is the lesson sent to other scammers that cautions them about what will happen to them if they continue doing like things? It is sad enough people fall for these phony scams, but some do. And a slap on the wrist, and suspending any payment (where is it hidden, just off shore, where they are vacationing?) BUT NO JAIL. Might as well be a big time banker. FTC, boast about prosecuting at our taxpayer expense, but DO something rather than a dog and pony show. (I don't even want to get political here, but it makes one wonder if the District Judge was Dem or Repub??)
Start really putting some fear in these scammers, and in the duties of the big telecoms we pay and give us our services we deserve, including the satisfaction of seeing them wearing stripes and cuffs. Bet it never happens. Consumers need the protection, but scammers "can't afford to pay the fine" and walk away? I bet they are already back in business when they should be behind bars for a looooong time. Sad.

This just happened to a group of people on Indiegogo. Jolt Electric Bike was promised. The guy raised 300K and only a handful of people received cheap bikes from China. He took off with the money and burned everyone. Indiegogo does not care. No one even knows how to contact this guy.

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