A recent scam has been circulating conversations in the Dash Cam universe. The scam started in late January, when a disreputable dash cam company, CLEX, posted a campaign to raise $5,000 for the production of an exaggerated product (pictured below).
CLEX was offering discounted prices on the pre-production dash cam for backers. For a pledge of $78 or more, backers were promised one dash cam and a 16GB micro SD card. For any pledge over $158, backers were promise two dash cams. And for a pledge more than $3,250, CLEX offered the “Entrepreneur Special” that promised backers 50 dash cams for their pledge.
The campaign was an immediate success, it exceeded it’s goal by $18,000 and garnered over 200 backers in one month. The first comments that rolled in expressed hopefulness and excitement. CLEX updated their Kickstarter status regularly to create the guise of legitimacy:
After the first month, people started to become weary. CLEX was reported to be sending out dash cams to various users, but given the size of a scam like this, it is very likely CLEX was commenting on fake accounts. Even if CLEX was planting fake comments, there were still many commentators who received broken, or non functioning devices.
Near the end of July, CLEX cut off communications completely. They stopped responding to private messages and comments all together. At this point many backers were beginning to catch on to the scam, and reported CLEX to Kickstarter. In the midst of the ordeal CLEX’s account was deleted (it is uncertain whether Kickstarter or CLEX deleted the account).
Some backers were able to get their money back, others were not so fortunate. This Kickstarter chaos serves as a good reference to how easy it is to fall victim to internet fraud.
We put our trust into online sellers. We believe that our money is being protected, especially on big sites like Amazon and Kickstarter. But the truth is, even Amazon is subject to internet fraud! As consumers, we need to be acutely aware of where we purchase our products. One way to be sure you are not getting ripped off is by reading reviews, learning about the company that sells the product, and learning about the product itself. Do research before making your purchase. There are tons of niche forums out there that cover nearly every question imaginable. Finally, review the seller’s policies. Make sure the seller has a good policy for returns and refunds. Don’t fall victim to fraudulent internet sales.