The nationwide shortage of baby formula continues to be a growing concern for many parents. Scammers are finding new ways to take advantage of consumers hunting for formula online. This new scam is making online shopping riskier.
“Parents are doing everything they can to feed their babies, and scammers are aware of the desperation,” said Robyn Householder, president & CEO of Better Business Bureau Middle Tennessee and Southern Kentucky.
Scammers are taking advantage of product scarcity and vulnerability. Some scams come in the form of fake websites or social media posts by people who say they have extra formula for sale. The scammer includes pictures of the cans and asks for payment through a cash app or services like Venmo or Paypal, but the product is never shipped.
The BBB encourages consumers to be vigilant. Think before clicking on ads and email solicitations to avoid being scammed. “We strongly urge consumers to take time and do some research,” Householder says. “Always visit our website to check the accreditation status of the business.”
Signs of potential scams include having no brick-and-mortar address, misspellings, grammatical errors, and descriptive language inconsistent with the product. Other alarming signs include the seller being communicative until the payment is made.
Before making a purchase, visit BBB.org to check a business’s rating and BBB accreditation status. Make a note of the website where the order is placed by taking a screenshot of the item ordered. Having this information will be helpful in case the website disappears or a different item is received in the mail than what was advertised. It is suggested that consumers utilize credit cards to purchase items because they often provide more protection against fraud than other payment methods.
Always report suspected fraud to the BBB by filing a complaint using BBB.org/Scamtracker. Also, file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at reportfraud.ftc.gov
The Better Business Bureau is a nonprofit organization established in 1954. The mission of the Better Business Bureau is to be the leader in advancing marketplace trust. Consumers can read more tips on protecting themselves from scams by visiting BBB.org.