Kickstarter Respond to Scam Allegation

Yesterday I ran a piece about Encik Farham, an alleged Kickstarter scammer who pledged funding at the top tier of over a hundred projects, only to then seemingly run a credit dispute when each project was funded. Kickstarter have sent an official response to the news, acting immediately to curb the scammer.

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In the piece, I spoke to Alex Heberling, one of the many creators whose projects had been affected by the scam – and could have lost $1000 from her funding as a result. Kickstarter pulled the profile of Farham just prior to the piece going up, taking it offline, and today contacted me with the following statement:

Kickstarter and Amazon Payments, our US payments processor, were recently alerted to a series of malicious pledges by a single individual to more than 100 Kickstarter projects. Upon learning this information, we shut down this person’s account, canceled their live pledges, and permanently banned them from Kickstarter.

Kickstarter and Amazon are working together to investigate this situation. We won’t let a single bad apple harm the integrity or goodwill of our incredible community.

Indeed, Kickstarter have managed to shut this down remarkably quickly, to their thorough credit. Now that this particular form of scam has been caught, it looks as though the company will now be on-guard for any further attempts to repeat the trick. If your Kickstarter is ever affected by an attempted scam such as this one – please let people know about it.

Comments

  1. Alan Clark says:

    Why are you treating the word “Kickstarter” as if it were plural?

  2. Yah, super quick…only 100+ times he’s run this scam…swift action there!

  3. Synsidar says:

    Why are you treating the word “Kickstarter” as if it were plural?

    That’s British English. Asking someone to change how he handles nouns would be an imposition. Personally, I’m annoyed when someone uses their to avoid using a gendered pronoun and creates a singular/plural conflict.

    SRS

  4. There was a different scammer(?) entirely who did this to my KS campaign two months ago, AND to at least one other comics KS that I know of. She pledged an obscene amount, waited until the campaign was over and the money was transferred into my Amazon Payments account (but inaccessible, as it always is at first), and then charged it back to her credit card a week later. Kickstarter themselves have offered no help…and now we’re stuck paying the KS % fees on a huge chunk of money that we’re not actually getting.

    And I’m not even sure what this particularly scam amounts to, other than maliciously screwing over people trying to fund their art.

  5. Yeah, I want to be able to use this in the future for my projects but the more I look at this system and hear about things like this the less faith I have in it. I know there are always kinks to be worked out and don’t fault anyone for trying to make this work. I just don’t know if I’d want to risk it, personally.

  6. I’m just wondering when people are gong to start getting Kickstarter shy. I’m a little uneasy about starting one myself, even though I’ve had friends with major successes. It’s clear that if anyone is to start one, they’d better be damn sure it’ll be worth it to them and the betterment of their project, because they are a lot of work.

  7. John Warren says:

    Glad to hear the scammer was “permanently banned” from Kickstarter, but can’t he just create a new account using a different email address? I’m thinking that any kind of ban is going to be extremely difficult to enforce.

  8. @ John – agreed, we should just ban kickstarter itself.

  9. Luxen says:

    Encik means Mister in the Malay language, so his name is Mr. Farham. If Amazon and kickstarter is serious about getting this guy, they can lodge a police report with the Malaysian police. It should be easy to find him as they have his credit details. The guy’s bank would have his photo, home address and place of employment. The story has already been picked up by the Malaysian press and the police will pursue it if there is a police report. http://www.thestar.com.my/News/Nation/2013/11/11/Malaysian-kicked-out-of-Kickstarter-for-scamming-about-100-project-creators.aspx

  10. If he ran multiple scams over a short period of time he could have got away with it, kickstarter’s response was as fast as the first person’s email.

  11. Someone did something similar to a Kickstarter I am contributing for. The couple running the
    kickstarter make a Steampunk Webcomic and are trying to make a new graphic novel about the characters as children. They were donated 10,000 dollars by one user pumping them to 75% of goal only to see the funds slowly taken away over the weekend. The good press and visibility they had gotten before this has yielded nothing since the attack. Who wants to contribute to a Kickstarter that just lost 40% of its funding? Their project is unlikely to get funded partially due to this action.

    Link to the Kickstarter Update with the info: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/kneon/crimson-rhen-of-the-truth-north/posts

  12. Mary W. says:

    I don’t normally harp over grammar, but this one’s driving me nuts: it’s Kickstarter RESPONDS. Kickstarter is not plural, it’s one entity. You’d also say it like: Dropbox Responds, Justin Bieber Responds, or Fundraisers Respond (that’s plural).

  13. prakashsarwan says:

    when is the film valiant coming out and will it be available in dvd

Trackbacks

  1. […] Kickstarter has provided a statement in which they confirm that they shut down the scammer’s account and promising more […]

  2. […] 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 […]

  3. […] it broke last week, and while I’m gratified that things came to a quick resolution (tl;dr: Kickstarter revoked the account of the scammer in question), I’ve been wondering what kind of protections could be baked into the Kickstarter ecosystem […]

  4. […] Kickstarter issued statements to various news outlets on the matter, including the following statement from ComicsBeat… […]

  5. […] (although a recent case involving cartoonist Alex Heberling and a bogus bidder seems to have been resolved adequately). It’s also undependable as a funding source. Comics projects have a 49% success rate, according […]

  6. […] (although a recent case involving cartoonist Alex Heberling and a bogus bidder seems to have been resolved adequately).  It’s also undependable as a funding source.  Comics projects have a 49% success rate, […]

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