INDIANAPOLIS—The Better Business Bureau Serving Central Indiana issued a warning this week about shopping online for baby formula amid a nationwide shortage.
Scammers are using social media posts or ads showing they have baby formula available.
You may also find a "fake" website selling formula by using an internet search engine.
The buyer then contacts the sellers via chat or direct message and makes a payment through PayPal, Venmo or another peer-to-peer platform, but the formula never arrives.
According to the 2021 BBB Scam Tracker Risk Report, online shopping scams are among the riskiest scams.
Scammers will take advantage of the current baby formula supply shortage.
The BBB issued the following red flags to look for:
- Positive reviews on the website that have been copied from honest sites or created by scammers. Be aware, some review websites claim to be independent but are funded by scammers. Check BBB.org.
- No indication of 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.
- Misspellings, grammatical errors, or other descriptive language that is inconsistent with the product.
- The seller advertises on a social media site and is communicative until the payment is made. Once the payment clears, they are unreachable.
Before you buy online:
- Visit BBB.org to check a business’s rating and BBB accreditation status. Impostors have been known to copy the BBB seal. If it is real, clicking on the seal will lead to the company’s BBB profile on BBB.org - check the domain of the URL.
- Conduct an internet search with the company name and the word “scam.” This may locate other complaints about the site.
- Make a note of the website where the order is placed. Take a screenshot of the item ordered, in case the website disappears, or a different item is received in the mail than what was advertised.
- Credit cards often provide more protection against fraud than other payment methods.
- Think before you click. Be especially cautious about email solicitations and online ads on social media sites.