Attorneys general warn families about fraud related to baby formula shortage

May 20, 2022 – The attorneys general of Kentucky and Illinois are warning parents and guardians of infants about scams targeting them because of the national baby formula shortage.

They’re warning that scammers may use tactics similar to those used by online marketplace scammers by posing as a legitimate seller and claiming to sell scarce products. They warn that fraudsters may try to sell formula at nose-bleed prices, or for prices that are literally too good to be true.

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, who has a 4-month-old son, said he and his wife would do anything to make sure their child is taken care of, and they “understand the stress that the nationwide formula shortage is placing on parents and caregivers.”

“Scammers often attempt to take advantage of those in stressful situations, and right now that can include Kentuckians who are desperately trying to find formula for their babies,” Cameron said in a statement. “We encourage parents to report suspected baby formula scams to our office immediately at” Scams can also be reported in Kentucky by calling 1-888-432-9257.

Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul is also urging families to be vigilant to avoid scams taking advantage of the shortage. To report a scam in Illinois, visit the state’s Consumer Complaint On-Line Submission Form or call one of its consumer fraud hotlines. The hotline for southern Illinois is 1-800-243-0607 out of Carbondale.

To avoid being scammed, Cameron’s office recommends buying formula from known, respectable sources and using a credit card to make the purchase if possible, rather than a debit card or cash. His office says to avoid paying up front if buying formula from an unknown source.

Raoul also recommends following guidance from the Federal Trade Commission and the Better Business Bureau regarding formula scams. His office shared the following advice to help consumers recognize scams when they see them and avoid them:

  • Research the business selling the product before buying anything.
  • How you are being asked to pay? Credit cards have the strongest protections. Being asked to pay with gift cards, money transfers or cryptocurrency indicate a likely scam.
  • When researching businesses, know that some review websites claiming to be independent are actually paid for by scammers.
  • Watch out for positive reviews on the website that have been copied from honest sites or created by scammers.
  • It’s a bad sign if there’s no indication that the business has a brick-and-mortar address, or if the address appears on Google Maps as a parking lot, residence or business unrelated to the products listed on a website.
  • Scam listings often have misspellings, grammatical errors or descriptions that are inconsistent with the product.
  • Be cautious with sellers advertising on social media who may only communicate with buyers until the payment is made. Once the payment clears, they may be unreachable.

By Leanne Fuller, WPSD Local 6
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