/ Money

Scam watch: stung by fake shoe ad

A fraudulent Facebook ad posing as a luxury retailer tricked this victim into parting with their cash. Would you be able to spot it?

When an ad appeared on a Facebook user’s timeline appearing to be for luxury shoe shop Russell & Bromley, they clicked through and placed an order.

The three pairs of shoes they had apparently purchased came to a total of £72 and were paid for by credit card.

The confirmation email arrived 30 minutes later, but things were clearly not as they seemed. It was written in broken English and made no mention of the products they’d supposedly ordered.

Guide: how to spot a scam

The victim contacted their card provider immediately, cancelling the card and ordering a new one. It transpired that the £72 had been charged in Chinese yuan, so they’d actually paid £93.

Unfortunately the payment couldn’t be stopped, but they have since applied for a refund.

As for the advert, we’re told it continues to appear on both Facebook and Instagram, despite efforts made to report it.

Russell & Bromley itself is aware of this scam and has placed a warning on its website. It is actively working with its legal partners to shut down illegitimate websites.

Proliferation of fake ads

We’re hopeful that the card company refunds this victim, and have advised that a chargeback claim is possible as the shoes never arrived.

Chargeback means you can get your money back (in many cases) if goods and services aren’t delivered, or are delivered but not as described. It applies to debit and credit card payments.

Many credit card payments qualify for an even stronger, legally enshrined protection called Section 75. Unfortunately, this payment doesn’t as the goods cost less than £100.

We’re concerned about the proliferation of fake ads on social media and other websites.

Facebook told us it takes action to stop fraud ‘wherever it appears’ and is investing in a new tool for reporting scam ads.

Have you spotted this fake shoe ad on social media? Have you seen anything similar? If so, get in touch in the comments.

Davids says:
27 January 2020

I realise I have just been caught by the Clarkseu shoes scam. First time caught out in many years of internet shopping. They were cheap but not much cheaper than Clarks’ sale. In hindsight there were signs – but with Clarks branding, accepting Paypal and Visa etc, it felt ok.

More annoying than being scammed, however, are the pompous comments from posters on this thread. How I wish I was perfect 🙂

Chris Hume says:
4 February 2020

Just realised ive been caught. Will I get money back from bank

This might depend on the manner in which you have “been caught”.

If you used a credit card and spent over £100 in one transaction you could be eligible for a refund so you should apply to your card provider. The whole amount does not have to be paid via a credit card but a portion must have been.

See the Which? guidance –

claire hagan says:
5 February 2020

Been caught out also!!!!!

Cath Barton says:
18 April 2020

I have been caught in a similar fashion (Facebook cheap Clarks shoes). Stupid me. I heard there was a possibility that my card provider could refund me the money under the Chargeback scheme, but they (HSBC) tell me they cannot do this because I have not first returned the item received (the scarf) and asked for a refund. Clearly I am not going to do this when it would cost me more money and I stand no chance of getting a refund when this is known to be a scam. Hey ho. Like I say, stupid me.You live and learn.

John says:
11 June 2020

Similar thing happened to me about a year ago. Santander paid my chargeback claim without too much hassle. I did, fortunately, have lots of email evidence that proved the scam, simply because I kept on pressing the scam company for a refund etc. Also there was plenty of evidence from other people on the web that mirrored my experience.

anthea ferguson says:
11 February 2020

Caught out by scam on Facebook offering cheap Clarks shoes. After several weeks a fake Burberry scarf came. Not a huge amount of money – less than thirty pounds – and at least I got something, but in hindsight it was pretty stupid to click on an ad on Facebook. Don’t do it! Perhaps it’s a sign that we should all start going to real shops again and save our high streets!

I have been caught by this obviously fake site. I received a bad fake Burberry scarf which is only fit for my dustbin. Lucky for me my bank has refunded the cash. I will be more careful to not use facebook again to purchase anything.

Andy Harvey says:
8 March 2020

Exactly the same here. Card cancelled. I ordered at work, so at least my home computer is safe. http://www.clarksukshop.com is down as a dodgy site on Virgin Media, so they have figured it out.

MARY Crouch says:
29 June 2020

i think I have also been duped! ordered a pr of boots a month ago. £30 plus £7 delivery charge. today received a crappy pr of pretend rayBan sunglasses from a no doubt fake person (Chen Long) from a no doubt fake address in China (Huquiping road)
Disgusting people.
did you get your scarf from same address?

Diana says:
30 June 2020

I have just received a pair of fake ray-ban sunglasses in place of Clarke’s sandals. So guess I have also been scammed. Offer was too good to be true so I should have known better.

Lisa Armstrong says:
28 April 2020

I too have been caught out as I ordered Clark’s shoes from the website. I emailed them and they said it was the couriers fault as they sent them to the wrong address and therefore they cannot refund my money. The amount I paid was higher than initially shown due to the currency exchange. Like many others this is the first time I’ve been caught out by a website and it’s so frustrating.

Lisa – Of course, that excuse is just not true. With any form of distance selling it is the seller’s legal responsibility to ensure the goods are delivered and if that means re-consigning so be it. But when dealing with sellers in foreign parts these laws are no protection and it is practically impossible to take any meaningful action. The foreign exchange impact also adds insult to injury. I sympathise with everyone who has been diddled in this way but I think the sites that host these rogue traders have a responsibility as well, yet they seem to remain as popular as ever such that no one dare touch them.

David S says:
28 April 2020

Hi Lisa. I was caught too. No indication this order was going to China. They sent a fake Gucci wallet. I emailed them a few times. They kept offering a partial refund – it increased a bit with each email. I declined and raised it with Barclaycard. They suspended the transaction on my account (£70+) whilst they investigated. I have heard nothing further. Fingers crossed! Have a go – you might get a result.

John says:
11 June 2020

David. your story mirrors mine. I received a fake Gucci scarf. I did the same as you i.e. Kept on at them to increase their refund offer to a full refund, knowing it would be futile and pointless. But the email trail I created was enough to provide Santander with sufficient “evidence” to refund me via the chargeback scheme. Your bank should do the same.

Davids says:
12 June 2020

Well done John – I think a complaint, with evidence, to the card provider is the best route – it seems to work for most. I think these fraudsters are quite clever – and are probably making a fortune.

The surprising thing is that Facebook and banks/credit card firms etc. continue to have a business relationship with them – they must know.

The saddest thing about this conversation thread, is the valueless posts from rather pompous sounding contributors who have never been caught out – ever!

Best wishes to all 🙂

Alison says:
19 June 2020

I am so cross with myself now having been caught out also!!! I have a “Versace “ cap instead of 3 pairs of shoes. How did you approach the bank to help with the refund please???

Julie Bunce says:
29 April 2020

I too have been scammed. Saw an advert on facebook for an end of line sports watch. Ordered it Feb 2020 and was told by email that the transaction will show mylittleoil. The transaction came out on the 26th Feb, and I’m still waiting. First and latest email below….. I’ve lost £43.85. Silly me, I have ordered from China before but have never had a problem.

You have transferred 53.90 USD to garmineustore.com.
The order details are as follows:

Order No.: 2197

Seller website: garmineustore.com
Payment Date&Time: 2020-02-25 16:20:13.0
Amount: 53.90 USD

Payment No.: PS2002251620127888
Due to the foreign exchange rate, the amount displayed on your statement might be a little bit different from the real price.

Please note “mylittleoil” will be displayed on your credit card statement instead of the website from which you purchased the mentioned product.It’s just used for sending bill statement by the seller’s payment processor as a tool.

Should you need any further assistance, please don’t hesitate to contact our Customer Services department at cs@…………… with the transaction details listed above.

E-mail: cs@………………
[TID:1426214]Order Information,Payment No.PS2002251620127888
service12 …………….
04:10 (4 hours ago)
to me

Dear customer,

As you can see, we did send the parcel to the correct address, but such shipping problems are out of our control.

In principle, we would not refund due to your local post’s fault. But we still applied a USD20 refund of order value for you with hard trying. It is the best and fastest way for both of us.

Look forward to your reply!


On the tracking website, the parcel never left China. See the exclamation marks after reply and Regards, don’t hold out much hope for the refund!

Trust Pilot have loads of complaints about this company, naming Facebook as the origin.

Been scamed via the Russell and Bromley Facebook advert on 15 05 2020 .Have contacted Credit Card company even though payment was for £35 .They confirmed transaction said it was from a company in Singapore !!!! looking into it and will get back to me via their fraud department.First time this has happened to me.

same here – ordered 3 pais of “russel” to get a free delivery (silly me) and once placed the order noticed the name of the site looked dodgy( did you manage to start investigation or get a refund?

Robert Thomas says:
1 June 2020

Just been caught by the Clark’s Shoes Scam on for £26 up to now ? Thought the site was a little dodgy as it wouldn’t let me complete after entering my card details etc. 30 mins later saw a post saying about Clark’s Scam so immediately phoned my bank to block my card. Bank phoned this morning stating payment gone through but they hopefully can get a refund after 15 days ? The company is called Reliable Kind from Singapore but not very reliable !! lol

Also been caught out by Clark’s shoes advert on Facebook on 26.5.20. Looked so genuine and card details went through. Received email saying my order was being processed and they had received payment. They would give me a tracking number once they had been processed. Looking at email it didn’t look right now thinking about it. Contacted bank and cancelled card. They’ve told me to wait until the supposed delivery date and then ring back to dispute payment. The company is based in Singapore called Reliable Kind like the gentleman above.

I am aware how easy it is to be taken in by scam websites, and these ‘merchants’ are very cunning, but didn’t the exceptionally low prices ring any alarm bells?

I think many folk tend to believe what they what to, hence easily fall prey to these scams.

Long ago, in sales training, I learnt that people generally make irrational choices as purchasing decisions, but may then try to respectively produce rational arguments as justification.

Skilled marketing and sales staff, as well as, regretably also, skilled scammers will know how to manipulate potential buyers or victims into making rash decisions.

Hence a lot of good consumer protetion invloves cooling-off periods, especially for online sales.

Few of us like to admit to making mistakes; we prefer to justify our decision, maybe on the basis we must have had good reason at the time.

Agreed, Derek. On-line shoppers have to be extremely savvy not to be lured into a rash purchase.

The problem for our contributors here is that the UK’s consumer rights and consumer protection services will not stretch as far as Singapore, so cooling off periods [where applicable], and the right to reject goods sold at a distance [on-line, mail order, door-to-door] under the Consumer Rights Act and subordinate regulations, cannot be exercised and it is prohibitive to take legal action over such small sums. Unfortunately, all those caught by the ‘Clarks Shoes’ fake sale will have lost their money, while some have received alternative but unsatisfactory goods instead of what they ordered.

I can only presume the origin of the supplier was not evident in the Facebook advertisement. I am not a Facebook user so I hesitate to make any further comment but in view of the reports that have come into Which? Conversation I would treat all promotions via Facebook and its Messenger arm with suspicion unless the source is declared and it is a known and reputable EU trader. Spoofing the adverts so that they appear to be sponsored or emanating from the user’s personal contacts is another despicable ploy.

I don’t know what more we can do here in the UK to stop this menace other than keep warning people about it. The internet has no frontiers so grappling with its bad agents is about as useful as trying to reorganise a bowl of trifle.

Rita cox says:
5 June 2020

Ive also been caught like a fish in a net,this time with Ecco sandals,I’ve sent a very annoyed email to them and will contact my card provider..

If an unknown came to the door and offered an expensive pair of shoes at a discount price, I doubt that many would buy them, even though they would at least have the opportunity to see the shoes before purchase. Is it worth taking the risk of buying goods advertised on social media?

Karen Henderson says:
8 June 2020

This advert turned up on my FB feed tonight, I thought “if it seems to good to be true it probably is”. so asked for reviews on shoespecials.club and up came this. I also checked Russell and Bromley site which confirmed they only have sales once or twice a year and only via their website. Another tip hubby showed me, is hover over various things on the site and the REAL site will show. So sorry too hear some have been scammed, you are not being silly – it can happen to anyone. But if you can remember to do the above you should be okay

Alan of Ipswich says:
10 June 2020

Eccoeustore.com is an identical website and scam. Official looking Confirmation of Order received, then a confirmation of the financial transaction from a website called Service3, then a very convincing package tracking Email from China, all looks very professional, but is obviously a Chinese scam! The amount taken from my credit card had been converted several times. Hoping to get a refund from my credit card, but how do they get an official payment facility Through Visa and MasterCard? The websites only exist for a day or two, and then disappear!

Martin Phillips says:
17 June 2020

“but how do they get an official payment facility Through Visa and MasterCard? The websites only exist for a day or two, and then disappear!” ……….. Yes I’d like to know that too.

Lynn says:
10 June 2020

Just been caught this morning with Russell & Bromley scam. Bank advised and I need to wait for delivery within 30 days, if not what I ordered or not happy ( which is a given) I should get refund. I took screen shots of purchases and site. It’s very Very convincing, I’ve never been caught out before so will be extra careful. Facebook should police better.

Saw an ad on facebook for Clarks shoes at a very reduced price from Hot Online-onlinehotsal.shop. I didn’t want to buy but get cross with these scam sites so checked the details on the page. Created on 11th June 2020, no details of place of business or country, no contact details apart from an email address. I just wish people would check as much as they can before purchasing goods from these sites. Better safe than sorry!

Chris says:
12 June 2020

I was also scammed by a Facebook ad on Instagram selling Birkenstock’s sandals. I have used the report form to complain to Facebook and have also written a letter to FB. Not expecting any action. I realised the website was fake soon afterwards as my invoice disappeared from my bookmarks where I always save them until a confirmatory email arrives. On trying to re-enter the website the computer told me the server could not be found.
I then realised I’d been scammed, even though I hadn’t clicked a link and had gone into a website address. I managed to trace it to Brunei! Luckily I used my credit card so will try and use chargeback to get a refund. I’m usually very savvy so was annoyed at myself for getting caught out. I should use my own advice-if it looks too good to be true, it probably is!

Mike from Hobart says:
15 June 2020

Also got scammed by Eccoeustore for hiking sandals. Facebook advert looked authentic and price quoted $33US equivalent to what I have paid for similar footwear in Saigon. Immediate confirmation of sale and then subsequent tracking of supposed item which turned out to be a trio of supposed Burbury socks. Have filed a dispute with ANZ bank who want me to return socks to mailing address which is in China and provide them with the tracking number. Only problem is Australia Post will charge nearly $20AUD for return postage, almost half the original cost ($51AUD). A few lessons to be learned here about paying for things that appear to be too good to be true online because they almost certainly are! I am yet to make email contact with the address provided by Eccoeustore before their website mysteriously disappeared.

Terry McArthur says:
15 June 2020

Sorry, but I just think that anyone buying stuff via Facebook is just plain bonkers.

No part of Facebook can be trusted.

Ebay, though not perfect, is much better controlled.

I certainly go with Ebay myself, if I do need to shop online.

Martin Phillips says:
17 June 2020

We live and learn . . . . . hopefully!🙄

Bernadette young says:
16 June 2020

I’ve just been stung by Allways18 shoes. Advertised as leather, hand stitched etc, looked really good quality on the advert but when they came they were all very thin plastic, you could almost tear it with your fingers. Came from China of course. There’s loads of ads for these sandals… avoid it’s a fake..

16 June 2020

I ordered a pair of Loake shoes for £29 plus £8 delivery on 15th June 2020 and it was this scam company, the invoice did not look right, we cancelled our cards and the following morning my son informed me that the same company had set up again on Face book under the name of
I have been in touch with the genuine Loake’s company and they said there is not a lot they can do about it as it is set up from somewhere abroad, on the same new site they also had a ladies fashopn outlet selling ladies clothes etc cheap, so beware being scammed like this could easily happen to you

I have never seen genuine Loake men’s brogues on sale for less than £150 and some are over double that, so £29 would be an unbelievable bargain. All advertisements for massive discounts on high-end shoes and clothing from top brands need to be regarded with the utmost suspicion. You acted quickly so I hope you haven’t lost any money through this scam.

Martin Phillips says:
17 June 2020

It did :/

Robert Gardiner says:
17 June 2020

I thought I was buying 2 pairs of ECCO shoes but after they had taken the money the order went to China. They sent a receipt and a tracking number and the parcel arrived today as tracking predicted but it only contained a balenciaga cap. I have applied for a refund but am not expecting a reply. I guess I was too naive to believe the advertisement. I hope this is a genuine site!

Martin Phillips says:
17 June 2020

Why the hell did I assume a sponsored facebook advertisement would be safe? Because peddle their advertiing to billions of people around the globe.
Ecco boots scam £80. Why isn’t Mark Richbugger at facebook taking responsibility for firstly allowing such fake adverts, and secondly, taking so much time before Lord Facbook finally takes the advert down. Of course he doens’t give a crap for the end user problems.

Will the scammers have my bank details in full? I used a Nationwide debit card.