Baby formula scams prey on desperate parents. Here’s what you need to know – Rockford Register Star

Scammers are playing true to form, this time it’s the baby formula shortage.

While parents have been doing everything possible to get the food their infants need; scammers are doing everything they can to complicate the situation even further.

The Federal Trade Commission has issued a warning advising parents to use caution purchasing formula from unknown sources. In a statement posted to their website a spokesperson for the FTC says, “Scammers may set up fake websites or profiles on social media platforms with product images and logos of well-known formula brands — all to make you think you’re buying products from the companies’ official websites.”

Knowing the desperation of the parents, the crooks are offering the formula at exorbitant prices. But after parents pay up, the product never arrives.

More:How to avoid becoming a victim of lawn and garden scams

As the urgency has increased the actions of the crooks has prompted attorneys general from around the county to issue similar warnings.

In an effort to protect parents from getting scammed the FTC recommends:

  • Check out the company or product by typing its name in a search engine with terms like “review,” “complaint,” or “scam.” See what other people say about it.
  • Consider how you pay. Credit cards often give you the strongest protections, so you can sometimes get your money back if you ordered something but didn’t get it. But anyone who demands payment by gift card, money transfer, or cryptocurrency is a scammer.
  • Know your rights. When you shop online, sellers are supposed to ship your order within the time stated in their ads, or within 30 days if the ads don’t give a time. If a seller can’t ship within the promised time, it has to give you a revised shipping date, with the chance to either cancel your order for a full refund or accept the new shipping date.
  • Search for local resources. Call your pediatrician to see if they have formula in stock. Pediatricians often get samples of different formulas and may be able to help. If you are a participant in the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) nutrition assistance program, contact your local office to find formula.

Scammers are demanding payment for the formula purchase be made using an online payment app such as PayPal or Venmo.

However, experts recommend when using payment apps to make any online purchase always use the “goods and services” function for their transactions, which offers additional purchase protection. If a seller doesn’t deliver on what they’ve promised, the victim can get a refund.

Dennis Horton is director of the Rockford Regional Office of the Better Business Bureau, which serves Winnebago, Boone and Stephenson counties among others in northern Illinois.

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