Watch out Wednesday: formula scams

TULSA, Okla. – National shortages of products like infant formula can lead scammers to take advantage of desperate consumers.

As Chelsey Norris tries to relax on the couch and read to her children, Levi and Zoey, a single can of formula milk sits on the table. That makes those days anything but relaxing, as Chelsey says she can’t find formula on store shelves anymore.

“I’m extremely stressed about this,” Norris said. “I never thought this would happen.”

Two-year-old Zoey is old enough to drink regular milk, and they hope 10-month-old Levi will get milk and baby food in a few months, but for now, as her mother says, formula is his best friend. We can, however, we will not go very far.

“It will last about a week, considering he’s a big boy, he loves his food,” Norris said.

She says she will ration the formula she left as best she can, until the family can find more – hopefully without falling victim to false promises.

Scammers have hit new lows, says Colleen Tressler of the Federal Trade Commission.

“They pop up online and get desperate parents and caregivers to pay high prices for a formula that never comes,” Tressler says.

The FTC says that scammers can create fake websites or social media profiles with product images and logos of well-known formula brands, all to trick you into thinking you’re buying from the official formula website. businesses.

So, before ordering from an unknown online store, the FTC recommends verifying the company or product by typing its name into a search engine with terms such as review, complaint, or scam.

Credit cards, not debit cards, give you the best protection and the best chance of getting your money back, but anyone requesting payment by gift card, money transfer, cryptocurrency, or through apps cash like PayPal or Venmo is most likely a scammer.

“Not being able to provide that for my son makes me really frustrated and sad,” Norris said.

Here are other signs of a potential online shopping scam:

  • Positive reviews that have been copied from honest sites or created by scammers.
  • Remember that some review websites claim to be independent, but are funded by scammers.
  • So check with the Better Business Bureau website for company information.
  • But be careful. Just because a company displays the BBB seal does not mean it is accredited. Imposters are known to copy the seal. If the seal is real, clicking it should lead directly to the company’s profile on BBB.org.
  • Be cautious if there is no indication of a physical address or if the address appears on a Google map as a parking lot, residence, or unrelated business.
  • And additional red flags include misspellings, grammatical errors, or other descriptions not consistent with the product.
  • When ordering, note the website where the order is placed. Take a screenshot of the item ordered, in case the website goes down or you receive a different item than advertised.
  • And as always, think before you click. Pay particular attention to email solicitations and online advertisements on social media sites.

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