Sometimes the amazing, innovative products on the crowdfunding site Kickstarter sound too good to be true. And when it comes to the "world's first Japanese kobe beef jerky" that's beer fed, 100 percent organic, and marketed as the "best beef jerky on the planet," your instincts are right, it is too good to be true.
But a fairly well put together Kickstarter campaign nearly had more than 3,000 people duped out of a collective $120,000, as Christopher Mims reports at Quartz.
So how did this fradulent project nearly succeed? As Mims points out, the service generally relies on users to flag suspicious campaigns. But fake taste-tester reviews, an extensive Kickstarter page, and unsuspecting press coverage nearly fooled everyone until days before the campaign was set to end -- and the credit cards of the backers would have been charged. Fortunately, a group of filmmakers working on a documentary on Kickstarter helped expose the scam. Here's what they found:
As with any investment, projects don't always pan out. But large scale fraud on Kickstarter is a major concern, even if it's hard to tell the difference for the site's users.
So far Kickstarter hasn't had to deal with a large-scale fraud case like this would have been. But that challenge will always be there and will only increase if scammers can improve their pitch. Be careful what you back.
This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com