The Illinois Attorney General is warning families to be on the lookout for fraud related to the baby formula shortage.
Attorney General Kwame Raoul encouraged Illinois residents today to be vigilant for scams by individuals attempting to exploit families struggling to find the much-needed formula.
Raoul is urging consumers to exercise caution before buying any product from unknown sources, particularly those online. Raoul also encourages consumers who are or believe they have been the victim of a scam or price gouging related to baby formula to file an online complaint with the Attorney General’s Consumer Fraud Bureau.
Raoul says he urges anyone affected by this shortage to be vigilant for potential scams that could result in financial losses or – more seriously – the inadvertent purchase of unsafe products.
Families in search of baby formula are advised to follow guidance issued by the Federal Trade Commission and the Better Business Bureau.
Tips from the Attorney General’s Office include:
- Research the business selling the product before you make a purchase.
- Consider how you are being asked to pay. For instance, credit cards provide the strongest protections, while payment methods of gift cards, money transfers or cryptocurrency are indications of a scam.
- Be aware, some review websites claim to be independent but are funded by scammers.
- Be on the lookout for positive reviews on the website that have been copied from honest sites or created by scammers.
- Be cautious if you discover no indication of a brick-and-mortar address or if the address appears on a Google map as a parking lot, residence or business unrelated to what is listed on the website.
- Misspellings, grammatical errors or other descriptive language that is inconsistent with the product is often a sign of a scam.
- Be cautious with sellers that advertise on a social media platform that may be communicative only until the payment is made. Once the payment clears, they may be unreachable.
Attorney General Raoul is also warning that his office will take action against anyone engaging in unlawful conduct by those who attempt to use the formula shortage to make a quick profit. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) this week expressed concerns to state attorneys general related to reports of businesses taking advantage of the baby formula shortage
Individuals who want to report a complaint of fraud or price gouging relating to baby formula should visit the Attorney General’s website or call the Attorney General’s Consumer Fraud hotlines at Springfield, 1-800-243-0618, Carbondale 1-800-243-0607, Chicago 1-800-386-5438.