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$500k "Energy-Harvesting" Kickstarter Scam Unfolding Right Now 448

New submitter FryingLizard (512858) writes For a while I've been following the saga of the Kickstarter "iFind" Bluetooth 4.0 tracking tag. Nothing new about such tags (there are many crowdfunded examples; some have delivered, some have disappointed), but this one claims it doesn't require any batteries — it harvests its energy from electromagnetic emissions (wifi, cell towers, TV signals, etc). The creators have posted no evidence other than some slick Photoshop work, an obviously faked video, some easily disproven data, and classic bad science. So far they've picked up half a million in pledges. With six days to go until they walk off with the money, skeptics abound (10min in) including some excellent dissections of their claims. The creators have yet to post even a single photo of the magical device, instead posting empty platitudes and claims that such secrecy is necessary to protect their IP.

Using just their published figures, their claims are readily refuted, yet still backers flock in. Kickstarter appear uninterested in what can only be described as a slow-motion bank robbery, despite their basic requirement to demonstrate a prototype. It seems self-evident that such scams should not be allowed to propagate on Kickstarter, for the good of other genuine projects and the community at large. Skeptics are maintaining a Google Doc with many of the highlights of the action. Bring your own popcorn and enjoy the show."
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$500k "Energy-Harvesting" Kickstarter Scam Unfolding Right Now

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  • by ( 245670 ) on Tuesday June 24, 2014 @08:07AM (#47304841)

    I pledged $120.

  • by wbr1 ( 2538558 ) on Tuesday June 24, 2014 @08:36AM (#47305043)
    I am just gonna start a kickstarter to pay a lawyer to sue kickstarter.
  • Re:Simple, (Score:5, Funny)

    by ArcadeMan ( 2766669 ) on Tuesday June 24, 2014 @08:58AM (#47305209)

    Not to mention that if they store the energy in a bank, they're going to lose most of it to transaction fees.

  • by robstout ( 2873439 ) on Tuesday June 24, 2014 @09:28AM (#47305425)
    I'll use it in my car, which gets 100 MPG due to the fuel line magnets. Too bad I can't afford the conversion kit so it can run on water :)
  • by Thud457 ( 234763 ) on Tuesday June 24, 2014 @09:39AM (#47305509) Homepage Journal
    But... but... TESLA!

  • by flyingsquid ( 813711 ) on Tuesday June 24, 2014 @09:41AM (#47305527)

    I'm in complete agreement here. We desperately need some way to tell legitimate Kickstarter campaigns from frauds. For that matter, the entire internet is full of scams and con-men waiting to take your money. That's why my team has developed iScam, the revolutionary new fraud-protection device.

    Inside every iScam is a tiny induction coil that is powered by negative energy. When negative energy released by a scam such as this one activates the device, it generates a current which in turn activates a blinking LED, with the frequency of the blinking being proportional to the negative energy field. Simply aim the device at your computer screen, or hold it up to the phone when you get that too-good-to-be-true offer, or even point it at your lover... if there's any deception in the area, iScam will be activated and you'll be alerted!

    Pledge just $15 and we'll send you one device. For $25 we'll send you two. For $100, we'll send you an improved prototype with even more sensitive scam-detection algorithms. And for the especially gullible-those of you who have lost thousands or tens of thousands of dollars to scammers before- you need the top-level security provided by iScam Pro, which has a more powerful induction circuit, both increasing the range of the device and allowing it to detect even the tiniest fib! Pledge just $999 and we'll send you an iScam Pro. With our patented technology, you'll be safer than ever. And best of all, it's all environmentally friendly and fair-trade, with 10% of all proceeds going to benefit orphaned pandas.

  • by thedonger ( 1317951 ) on Tuesday June 24, 2014 @09:46AM (#47305565)

    Or not. I'm sorry, I don't trust kick starter campaigns.

    Right? I gave Toad the Wet Sprocket $50 for their new record. Then it arrived as double LP with four bonus tracks! If I wanted bonus tracks I would asked for freakin' bonus tracks! And don't get me started about that photo essay book I bought into. It was so good I almost cried. If I want to feel stuff I'll give to an Indiegogo campaign!

  • by bitt3n ( 941736 ) on Tuesday June 24, 2014 @09:50AM (#47305601)

    I pledged $120.

    Same here. I don't know what this tinfoil hat wearing idiot who came up with the conspiracy theory in the summary is thinking. After all, dowsing rods have been working since biblical times, and I can't recall swapping out the double A's in mine recently, can you? Similarly, the ADE 651 bomb detector, which contains no power source, and relies on a similar principle, has been protecting troops in Iraq and Pakistan for years. Do you really think already impoverished governments would spend tens of millions of dollars on something so vital to the lives of its armed forces if it didn't work? OP should remove this libelous screed before he finds he's on the wrong side of a lawsuit.

  • by Mr D from 63 ( 3395377 ) on Tuesday June 24, 2014 @10:46AM (#47306085)
    Bozo was a genius, in his own way.
  • by Zalbik ( 308903 ) on Tuesday June 24, 2014 @11:24AM (#47306407)

    I'm confused. I have one of your early prototypes, and when I aim it at your post it blinks like crazy!

    That means your post is a scam. But if your post is a scam, my device shouldn't be blinking. But my device is your post must be a scam.....but...

  • Uh-oh! (Score:4, Funny)

    by SpammersAreScum ( 697628 ) on Tuesday June 24, 2014 @09:11PM (#47311537)

    I'm confused. I have one of your early prototypes, and when I aim it at your post it blinks like crazy!

    That means your post is a scam. But if your post is a scam, my device shouldn't be blinking. But my device is your post must be a scam.....but...

    ... backing slowly away from the imminent head explosion as the logic circuits overload ...

What ever you want is going to cost a little more than it is worth. -- The Second Law Of Thermodynamics