The Backzip Kickstarter backpack scam was but a step in a career of scams: investigating the Shriras
I might be kicking a dead horse here — most of the people involved realize by now that the so called “Hidden Zipper, Waterproof, & Kevlar Reinforced Backpack by Backzips” Kickstarter campaign was a scam.
Backzips caught my eye because of their aggressive Facebook marketing campaign — like Kickstarter, Facebook too doesn’t seem to give two craps about promoting shady stuff either.
People backed the project. The creator took their money and ran with it, simple as that. Even though their Kickstarter page is still up and running — I don’t know Kickstarter’s procedure in case a project has been revealed a scam, but their page does show a functional pre-order now which directs to an IndieGoGo page for the same project. No product delivery, no updates.
Weird thing is, quite a few crowdfunding scams connected to a certain name: Eliran Shrira, @EliForex on Twitter.
Before you grab your torches and pitchforks, please follow my investigation procedure — it might be flawed and point to a wrong person, and the last thing I’d want is a wrong person to be blamed for the scams I’m about to list.
Whitepages lists an Eliran Shrira living in Sunrise, FL, and MyLife.com lists an Eliran Shrira living in the same location and related to a certain Izak Shrira. Eliran Shrira, according to Whitepages, used to live at Fort Lauderdale, FL. CorporationWiki has information on @EliForex aka Eliran Shrira aka “previous president at Fxp International”, a Forex trading group. Living at Fort Lauderdale, FL. Putting two and two together and assuming the information on these websites is correct — Whitepages, MyLife and CorporationWiki — we likely have identified Eliran Shrira and their relative, Izak Shrira.
The website PRLog has a 2012 interview with Eliran Shrira. It even has a picture.
Broward County Clerk of the Courts website ( www.browardclerk.org ) provided court data on singular people named Izak and Eliran Shrira and residing in Broward County, FL, where Fort Lauderdale is located. Pretty interesting stuff there too, especially in Izak’s records.
So, now that we have identified @EliForex and his dad, Izak Shrira, let’s see how they connect to certain crowdfunding scams.
The scams we are going to discuss are:
$159,476(KS)+ $168,477(IGG) Hidden Zipper, Waterproof & Kevlar Reinforced Backpack by Backzips — Kickstarter, started by an Izak Shrira. Also has an IndieGoGo page — link here — by Backzips, FL, United States. The “Pledge” button used to link to the website of another crowdfunded project, SOUTLET.
$88,515 (IGG) SOUTLET: Bring your outlet into the 21st century — IndieGoGo, started by Smartlet, Miami, FL. Used the same website as Backzips Backpack for a while. Unverified profiles shown as members of the team.
$162,316 (IGG) Slimger — Ultra Slim Charger For Mobile Devices — IndieGoGo, started by, guess who, Eli Shrira.
$565,901 SONICable, The World’s Most Advanced Charging Cable — IndieGoGo, started by Eli Shrira again.
(A side note on Slimger and SONICable: these are viewed by customers as scam despite some of the customers actually claiming to have received the product. Except the product was nothing like advertised — SONICable just blocks data transmission so that the PC can use all the power of the USB port for charging — something my own phone does internally, and both its and the Slimger IndieGoGo comments section swarms with notes of both poor product quality and unfulfilled orders with no refund. Do your own digging, it’s a sad read. Both projects employed a “Bluetech Industries” company for invent and design —from Fort Lauderdale, FL, which has nothing to do with the real Bluetech Industries from India, a water treatment equipment manufacturer, and Bluetech Inc., an IT firm — likely a dummy corporation used for defrauding).
Let’s get back to Backzip. There’s quite the saga to be read on the comments page, especially that of a customer going under the alias Shaket. Shaket found out that Backzip backpacks by Tuguan, a Chinese brand, were sold on AliExpress. Not having received his order, Shaket contacted the seller, and found out that the seller had ordered Backzip backpacks, had not received any, and had contacted the Chinese manufacturer of the backpacks.
The manufacturer replied that they had the backpacks ready and waiting for Backzip to collect (and pay for them), but Backzip had gone dark on them too. So the seller, having promised the backpacks to clients and not wanting to lose them, had asked the manufacturer to make 500 backpacks for them from spare materials they had left.
Well, let me re-quote the seller’s letter:
I am a backpack distributor in China. I suffered the same situation with you.
I ordered 100pcs from KS, but I still didn’t receive it. Unfortunately I did pre-sale in domestic market, my customers pushed me from Nov, I don’t want to lose my reputation in China, It is very important for us to do business. so I tried to contact the manufacturer of this bag per the info on KS “same manufacturer with samsonite”, I know that factory, it is famous in China, so I contacted them, I was told that they did have 2000 stocks in warehouse, waiting for their customer to pick them up. They can’t sell to us directly, they have signed contract, but if we need, they can make as they have material stock, so I negotiated with them, placed 500pcs order with them directly. they don’t accept order less than 1000pcs of each color, I am lucky because there is rest material. now I can hold my Chinese customers, but i am waiting my products from KS also.
Turns out, Backzip (or Izak and Eliran Shriras) had scammed both the customers and the manufacturer.
While doing my research, I came across this video by Youtube user Adan Johnson detailing the Shrira scams and how he came across them:
The information I found out might not be enough to put the Shriras into prison — in case we’re not dealing with identity theft, all the evidence points at them — but it certainly should help people who have been scammed by them build a case against these people.
I would have dug deeper if it didn’t require invasion of privacy and other shadier activities — something I simply won’t do. I hope the reader will forgive me for that; you can’t fight criminals by committing crime. Unless you are Batman. And I’m definitely not Batman.
Good luck, have fun.