As parents and caregivers across the country grapple with formula shortages, Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul advises residents to be vigilant and watch out for scammers looking to exploit those who face shortages.
In a press release issued on Friday afternoon, Raoul urged people to exercise caution before buying products from unknown sources, especially online.
With the Food and Drug Administration saying it will take “weeks” to replenish the national formula stock, what steps can people take to buy formula – without being scammed?
Raoul’s office urges families to adhere to the following guidelines issued by the Federal Trade Commission and the Better Business Bureau:
- Find out about the company selling the product before making a purchase.
- Consider how you are being asked to pay. For example, credit cards offer the strongest protections, while gift card, money transfer, or cryptocurrency payment methods are indications of a scam.
- Beware, some review sites claim to be independent but are funded by scammers.
- Be on the lookout for positive reviews on the website that have been copied from honest sites or created by scammers.
- Be cautious if you discover no indication of a physical address or if the address appears on a Google map as a parking lot, residence, or business unrelated to what is listed on the website.
- Spelling mistakes, grammatical errors, or other descriptive language incompatible with the product are often signs of a scam.
- Be careful with sellers who advertise on a social media platform that may be communicative only until payment is made. Once payment is made, they may be inaccessible.
Raoul also warned that his office will take action against anyone who engages in illegal conduct and tries to use the formula shortage to make a quick profit.
Those who believe they have been the victim of a scam or price gouging related to baby formula are encouraged to file an online complaint with the Attorney General’s Office of Consumer Fraud.