BBB warns against online baby formula scams

BBB warns against online baby formula scams
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. -A baby formula shortage in stores across America has led to scams online. The Better Business Bureau provides tips to ensure safety while shopping online for formula.

According to the BBB, the latest variation of the scam features an ad, post, or social media group that offers baby formula for sale. The buyer contacts the seller via chat or direct message, showing photos of the cans available. The buyer makes a payment through a peer-to-peer platform such as PayPal or Venmo, but the formula never arrives.

“Scammers have a long history of exploiting scarcity, and this is a particularly heinous example of their lack of scruples,” said Michelle L. Corey, BBB St. Louis president and CEO. “Parents desperate to feed their children should still take the proper care to buy from trustworthy vendors, or else they could lose their money along with their peace of mind.”

The BBB provided the following tips to keep shoppers safe online:

  • Check out the website before making a purchase:
  • Check BBB.org to check a business’s rating and BBB Accreditation status. Some crooks may copy the BBB seal. If it is real, clicking on the seal should lead to the company’s BBB profile.
  • Scamadvisor.com can often tell you how long a website has been in operation. Scammers create and close websites regularly, so a site that has only been operating for a short time could raise red flags.
  • Do an internet search with the company name and the word “scam.” This may locate other complaints about the site.
  • Scrutinize reviews: Scammers frequently post positive reviews on their websites, either copied from honest sites or created by scammers. One resource to check reviews is at BBB.org; some review websites claim to be independent but are funded by scammers. Look at the bad reviews first. These are more likely to be real and can help identify scams.
  • Search for contact information: Use caution if the site does not have a U.S. phone number or uses a Gmail or Yahoo business email address. Another potential red flag: The site does not list a brick-and-mortar address, or the address shows on a Google map as a parking lot, residence, or unrelated business than what is listed on the website.
  • Keep a record of what you ordered: Make a note of the website where you ordered goods. Take a screenshot of the item ordered in case the website disappears or you receive an item that differs from what was advertised.
  • Pay by credit card: Credit cards often provide more protection against fraud than other payment methods.

To find out more, or to report a scam, click here.