Consumer Alert: You can’t trust all Facebook ads.  Here’s how to tell is a retail website is real or a scam

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How much can you trust an ad that ends up on your Facebook feed? That’s the question I was asking after I was contacted by viewers who were scammed by a fake Vera Bradley ad on Facebook.  Everything about the ad and the fake website looks authentic. That’s why every time we’re on a site that we’re not familiar with, we need to do a bit of sleuthing before we buy.  

I got an email from a viewer that said, “… an ad on Facebook caught our eye for Vera Bradley merchandise. My sister placed an order and called me about the sale. It looked so legitimate that I placed two orders.”

So, I started digging and found an ad for a Vera Bradley online outlet store. The web address it directed users to was  The website is a scam.

“According to our survey, 38 percent of us experience fraud when clicking on an ad on social media to purchase something,” said Kathy Stokes, AARP’s director of fraud prevention programs.

That fake Vera Bradley outlet store ad takes you to a site that that looks completely legitimate with images stolen straight from the real Vera Bradley website.  But on the fake site, the merchandise is deeply discounted.  For example, on the fake site, a duffel bag is allegedly selling for $31.

But I found that image was actually stolen from the real Vera Bradley website, where it actually sells for $155.

So, before we buy anything on an unfamiliar site, we should always take a look at the “about” page. The fake Vera Bradley site reads “At, % we love every passion on earth because it’s a reference to your uniqueness.” Not only is the wording odd, but also sentences are unfinished throughout the text, indicating this is likely a template.  So, I googled that odd sentence and found two other alleged retail websites using the exact same template…

And one look at the contact page yields more red flags. The email given is not a Vera Bradley address. Instead it’s service@futurelikes dot com.

So I sent them an email. So far I’ve gotten no response.  As for the Vera Bradley company, I made their media team aware of the fraudulent website and a company spokesman confirms that site and Facebook ad are fake and are not affiliated with Vera Bradley.

The real company has two sites: and

If you have questions about a website, the tools I used here will usually help you uncover whether it’s real or a scam.

And I end with good news about the viewer who was scammed.  She contacted her bank, and it refunded her money.  Her case serves as a reminder why it’s safer to shop with a credit card.  If you’re scammed, you can dispute the charge.


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