They were almost taken for fools. But one almost-unlucky group of Kickstarter users managed to uncover a $120,309 scam on the site, helping to kill the campaign less than an hour before it was set to end—and their money was whisked out of their bank accounts. CNNMoney reports on what sounded intriguing to 3,252 backers: a campaign called "KOBE RED - 100% JAPANESE BEER FED KOBE BEEF JERKY." It went live May 14 and was set to close June 13, and the page looked official enough: complete with a 1:29 video, "rave reviews" from fans who had supposedly tried it at the SXSW festival, and a personal (albeit horrifically spelled) note from the maker. (Sample: It was my uncle who taught me how to make those juicy strips and chuncks of "The Ranchers Keep" into beef jerky and I've been making great jerky ever sense.)
But something seemed fishy: For one, there were no photos of the people behind the company, Los Angeles-based Magnus Fun; commenters pointed out that the super-fatty beef isn't suited to making jerky. And then the Kickstarted documentary team started digging around, after it reached out to the company in hopes of interviewing it for its film ("their product sounded delicious," the filmmakers wrote). After exchanging a few emails with the project creators, it became suspicious, too, and uncovered "indicators of fraud" (read them here). Kickstarter suspended the campaign at the 11th hour, but had no comment for CNNMoney. In other depressing Kickstarter news, Quartz has the story of a man whose Kickstarter was super successful ... but ended up costing him his house.