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Desperate parents being scammed online by supposed baby formula vendors

Posted at 4:07 PM, May 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-17 17:08:30-04

Parents right now are desperate to get what they need for their child, but unfortunately, scammers are trying to take advantage of these trying times.

"Be very careful who is messaging you and reaching out to offer to help you feed your child," said Louisiana mom Blake Schneider.

Schneider is warning other parents who are turning to Facebook groups to find baby formula.

"Not everybody can just spend $52 in one moment, you know?” she said. “A lot of us are living can-to-can and paycheck-to-paycheck."

Schneider admits she was taken in by one of these scams.

She tells us she never received the product, and the person that was supposed to help simply vanished.

"I tried sending multiple messages, and the account was basically deactivated,” she said. “It was like this person never existed on Facebook."

The Better Business Bureau is warning families about potential scams, as many are turning to social media for help amid the nationwide baby-formula shortage.

"So it's easy to act quickly without putting too much thought, which is what scammers really prey on," said Better Business Bureau Regional Director Katie Galan.

Galan said she understands the shortage is hard enough on parents, but says it's important to be on the lookout for any signs of a potential scam and avoid the use of electronic-wallet apps.

"Just because -- when you use those, it really is like paying with cash,” she said. “So when that money is gone -- it's gone -- and then that person can deactivate that account and there's no way of getting that money back."

She also warns people to be especially cautious about online ads and email solicitations. If you're still thinking about making the purchase online, Galan said use a credit card instead of a debit card for that extra layer of protection.

"Try to meet them in person,” she said. “Look at the product, make sure it hasn't been tampered with or opened, and if that point you feel comfortable then you can exchange the money.”

The Corpus Christi Police Department has four designated areas monitored 24 hours a day for the safe buying and selling of online items.

Schneider said she hopes no other parent has to experience what she did.

"It's really scary,” she said. “And it's something that I pray that we will get through as a community."