Scammers have set up fake websites or profiles on social media platforms with product images and logos of well-known formula brands – all to make you think you are buying products from the company’s official websites, according to the consumer alert.
The U.S. is facing a severe baby formula shortage that was started early in the Covid-19 pandemic and has worsened in recent months. The shortage was fulled after the deaths of two infants, who consumed formula produced at a Michigan manufacturing plant, died from a bacterial infection. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) investigated Abbott, the nation’s largest formula manufacturer. As a result, the FDA recalled several brands of formula, and parents were advised to not buy or use some formula tied to the plant.
On Thursday, the White House announced a series of measures to tackle the shortage of baby formula across the U.S. including ramping up production and making it easier to import formula from abroad.
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FTC has recommended a few tips for the consumers before ordering a baby formula from an unknown online store.
- Type the name of the company or the product in the search engine with terms like “review, “complaint,” or “scam” and check what other people say about the company.
- Avoid paying via gift card, money transfer, or Cryptocurrency. Anyone who demands payment through this method is a scammer. Use credit cards because it gives you the strongest protection, and most of the time you can get your money back if you have ordered something but you didn’t get it.
- Know your rights. Sellers are supposed to ship an online order within the time stated in their advertisements (or within 30 days if the ads don’t give a time). If a seller can’t ship by then, it must give you a revised shipping date, with the chance to cancel for a full refund or accept the new shipping date.
- Search for local resources. Call your pediatrician to see if they have a formula in stock. Pediatricians often get samples of different formulas and may be able to help.