Baby Formula Shortage Leads to Scams.


Why is there a Baby Formula Shortage?


The current baby formula shortage is impacting millions of families nationwide.

It all began in September of 2021, when “an infant in Minnesota given formula manufactured in Abbott's Michigan factory was diagnosed with Cronobacter sakazakii, a potentially lethal bacteria… At least four more babies given formula from Abbott's Sturgis facility fell sick in the following months, three with Cronobacter sakazakii and one with Salmonella newport” (CNET, 2022).

The FDA conducted a thorough inspection of the Abbott’s Michigan Factory in February. They ceased production and recalled batches of its Similac, Alimentum and EleCare infant formula brands.

Because Abbott is the largest of only a few baby formula factories in the US it had a huge impact on the availability of baby formula. In addition to this, hoarding of any baby formula that was available began, making the shortage much worse.

“Some stores, including CVS and Walgreens, have limited customers to three formula purchases per visit” (CNET, 2022).


The Rise of Baby Formula Scams:


The Federal Trade Commission is warning parents to be extremely vigilant when looking to purchase baby formula online:

“Scammers exploiting the high demand for baby formula have sunk to new lows... They're popping up online and tricking desperate parents and caregivers into paying steep prices for formulas that never arrives” (FTC, 2022).


How Online Baby Formula Scams Work:


These scammers have been known to set up fake websites, as well as profiles on various social media platforms, taking images from well-known baby formula brands, "all to make you think you're buying products from the companies' official websites" (FTC, 2022).

The Better Business Bureau also put out a statement earlier this month warning that baby formula scammers are "... asking people to pay using a PayPal or Venmo or a cash app-type of system. And once that money is paid out, and the order is placed, they never end up receiving that product" (BBB, 2022).

5 Things to Consider Buying Baby Formula Online:


  1. “Positive reviews on the website that have been copied from honest sites or created by scammers”(BBB, 2022). - “Check out the company or product by typing its name in a search engine with terms like ‘review,’ ‘complaint,’ or ‘scam’” (FTC, 2022).

  2. No indication of a brick-and-mortar address or the address shown on Google maps is a parking lot, residence, or unrelated business other than what is listed on the website” (BBB, 2022).

  3. Misspellings, grammatical errors, or other descriptive language that is inconsistent with the product“ (BBB, 2022).

  4. 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” (FTC, 2022).

  5. “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” (FTC, 2022).

Please share this information to keep others protected from these scams!

Stay safe

Genie Team

Sources:

BBB- https://www.bbb.org/article/news-releases/26998-bbb-warning-baby-formula-shortage-leads-to-potential-scams

FTC- https://consumer.ftc.gov/consumer-alerts/2022/05/not-enough-baby-formula-means-plenty-scammers

ABC News- https://abcnews.go.com/Health/feds-issue-urgent-warning-baby-formula-scams-exploiting/story?id=84813489

MarketWatch- https://www.marketwatch.com/story/ftc-warns-baby-formula-scammers-are-exploiting-family-fears-over-shortage-says-they-have-sunk-to-new-lows-11652896477

MorningStar- https://www.morningstar.com/news/marketwatch/20220520391/ftc-warns-mothers-that-baby-formula-scammers-are-exploiting-family-fears-over-shortage-says-criminals-have-sunk-to-new-lows

CNET- https://www.cnet.com/health/parenting/why-is-there-a-baby-formula-shortage-its-not-inflation/