BBB: When searching for baby formula online, watch for scams

MADISON, Wis. — As Wisconsin families continue to deal with a nationwide baby formula shortage, solutions are hard to come by.

Online marketplaces can be a helpful way of finding formula, but be careful. The Wisconsin Better Business Bureau warns that scammers prey on people in need.

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“They look for situations here,” regional director Tiffany Schultz said. “They follow the news and they have an opportunity here to throw up a fake website and get consumer money.”

Schultz said there are a few surefire ways of spotting a fake site.

  • Look for an “https” in the website address
  • Watch for spelling mistakes. Scammers notoriously change letters in website names
  • Look for contact info and search for the mailing address and phone number.

“Go ahead and call that number,” Schultz said. “Does it go to a customer service line or do you get a busy signal, is it not connected? That could be a tipoff, too, that it might be fake.”

Scammers try to prey on people’s impulses and quick decision-making. Just because it looks like formula is in stock doesn’t mean that is the case. In the end, it pays to take your time when searching online.

“You really need to do your homework,” Schultz said. “We understand that the need is there, but scammers are also taking advantage of that need.”

When shopping on eBay or Amazon, Schultz recommends checking the seller’s profile.

“If it was created last week or it was created two weeks ago, it may be best to shop elsewhere.”

There are ways to protect yourself in case you do get scammed. If you use a credit card for purchases, you often have about three months to dispute any charges that you think stem from scams. You can also view and report scams using the BBB’s online scam tracker.