Scammers targeting parents looking for baby formula

A local woman shared her experience of how she was targeted.
Published: May. 31, 2022 at 10:41 PM EDT
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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - As families across the country continue to deal with the nationwide baby formula shortage, the Federal Trade Commission has issued a consumer alert to warn parents about formula scams on social media.

One local woman is sharing her story about how she was targeted.

Clarissa Tallman lives in Roane County. Her 6-month-old daughter Layla has a cow milk allergy, limiting the options of what Tallman can buy.

“It’s been extremely emotional,” she said. “You stay up at night wondering if you can find formula.”

Like so many others, she hasn’t been able to find the formula she needs at local stores.

She’s had family members searching in other states as far away as Texas with no luck.

Tallman tried her luck online.

“They’ve created groups on Facebook to help moms get formula,” she said. “I reached out to one of the groups. People start private messaging you.”

She discovered scammers using fake profiles are eager to capitalize on those affected by the shortage, tricking desperate parents into paying steep prices for formula that never arrives.

One such scammer messaged her.

“They said they had four cans and said it was like $300 for four cans,” she said. “I went back and talked to one of the administrators. That account ended up being a scammer.”

She says it’s unbelievably frustrating that thieves are trying to steal from parents when they’re struggling to feed their babies.

“Moms are having issues affording it, then people are scamming them,” she said. “You see people say ‘my baby is down to one can.’ Your heart breaks for them.”

Tallman says she was able to buy a three-month supply of the formula she needed from a pharmacy in Puerto Rico, but she’s hoping to warn others not to fall victim to this type of scam.

Facebook provides a list of how to avoid falling victim. They say if you see something you think is a scam, you should avoid communication with the account and report it to Facebook.

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