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Too good to be true? Battery-free gadget may be a wild $500,000 Kickstarter scam

Published Jun 24th, 2014 2:18PM EDT
Kickstarter: WeTag iFind Scam

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iFind, dubbed “the world’s first battery-free item locating tag,” may be one of the coolest Kickstarter projects yet, having already hit over $520,000 in pledges – more than 20 times its initial goal – but it also may be a huge scam. iFind is a tiny device that’s supposed to be used with a smartphone app to quickly locate lost items. While this isn’t a new idea, WeTag says it can do it without the use of a battery. And that’s the crucial detail that causes concern.

Citing the need to protect its patented technology, WeTag has not shared exactly how this technology is supposed to work, even though many backers have contested its claims for the device, asking for more proof that the iFind actually exists and works as shown in the Kickstarter video. The company says that iFind will pick up electro-magnetic waves from all sorts of gadgets and turn them into the required energy for connecting via Bluetooth to a smart device.

While it’s understandable the company doesn’t want to spill the beans on its secret technology, WeTag has not actually been able to demo an actual product, provide enough information, or respond in a timely manner to anyone asking for more details about a project that’s widely popular with the crowds. Moreover, WeTag co-founder Dr. Paul McArthur revealed in a letter to backers more details about himself and his credentials, saying in the process that he doesn’t have a robust presence online because his identity was once stolen.

These are not good signs. Even if the iFind product is actually real and works as advertised in the promo video, WeTag hasn’t been able to handle the situation in a manner that would dispel any criticism and inspire confidence

Even Kickstarter is aware of the potential issues, The Register reports, and is looking into the matter. “”We’ve received reports about this project from our community and are reviewing them. Feedback like this is an essential part of the Kickstarter system,” a Kickstarter representative told the publication. However, the same rep directed the publication to its Trust and Safety page, which says, among other things, that “Kickstarter doesn’t evaluate a project’s claims, resolve disputes, or offer refunds.”

Assuming funding will go through, the first iFind devices should be delivered in October.

A video explaining the iFind concept follows below, while more resources for iFund backers looking to further investigate the matter are available at this Slashdot thread.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.


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