Personal Finance

Scammers are taking advantage of a baby formula shortage, Federal Trade Commission warns

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Scammers are exploiting a nationwide baby formula shortage, tricking consumers into paying hefty prices through fraudulent online stores, the Federal Trade Commission said Wednesday.

The con artists lure “desperate parents and caregivers” via fake websites or social media profiles with images and logos of recognizable formula brands, according to a consumer alert. Consumers think they’re purchasing from a company’s official website but formula never arrives, the FTC said.

“Scammers exploiting the high demand for baby formula have sunk to new lows,” the agency said.

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A shortage of baby formula started early in the Covid-19 pandemic, but has worsened in recent weeks. The scarcity is partly due to the closure of a Michigan manufacturing plant in February; two infants who consumed formula produced there caught bacterial infections and died.

The Food and Drug Administration reached a deal with the plant’s owner, Abbott Nutrition, the nation’s largest formula manufacturer, on Monday to help ease the shortage.

The White House said last week it would make it easier to import formula from abroad, among other measures.

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