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Baby formula shortage continues; Scammers may be preying on parents’ desperation

Published: May. 16, 2022 at 10:08 PM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - Parents’ distress continues as baby formula remains scarce and now the Better Business Bureau (BBB) warns that scammers may prey on parents’ desperations to feed their babies.

“It’s the ultimate sickness for somebody to try to scam mothers feeding their babies with formula,” Dr. David Wallace said.

Wallace is a pediatrician at the Children’s Clinic of Southwest Louisiana. He said parents’ fears and anxiety are growing as they worry how to feed their babies.

“The baby formula shortage is really getting pretty severe now,” Wallace said. “I have patients all the time asking me ‘where can I get formula?’”

Wallace said mothers are willing to do almost anything to feed their children, but the BBB explains that’s a vulnerable position to be in.

“When a product is in high demand, or scares as well, it just gives scammers that much more tools to be able to go out and scam people,” BBB operations manager Liz Trahan said.

Trahan warned that scammers are targeting parents, especially mothers, through online shopping ads, and on social media for baby formula. She explained a scammer will ask a buyer to pay through direct payment platforms like Venmo or Paypal, but the seller will then fail to deliver any formula.

“Be cautious,” Trahan said, reminding parents not to feed their baby in unsafe ways. “Don’t just act out of fear. You know, think before you click to make that payment and do some research before. Know that there are ways that you’re going to be able to feed your baby.”

“There is desperation and anxiety out there and I can certainly understand it,” Wallace said. “The things you don’t do is try and dilute the formula or try to make your own formula or even go into formula that’s like goats milk and different things. Just stay away from that because that’s detrimental.”

In the meantime, he advised it’s okay for babies 6-months and older to be fed toddler formula since there is more of it available and babies 9-months and older can take whole milk until supply increases.

Wallace added that, ultimately, it’s best to talk to your child’s doctor if you are struggling to find formula and if there’s an alternative right for your baby’s nourishment needs.

If you do encounter a scam, you are encouraged to report it to your local BBB using the SCAM TRACKER.

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