The BBB’s advice is to take the extra step to make sure the online profile that claims to be selling the formula is a real person.
DALAS – Gabriela Perez’s struggle to find a formula for her son, Levy, began back in March. Baby formula is one of the brands that was recalled and taken off the shelves in February.
She said in March she started posting on social media to find out if anyone had seen her son’s formula. A friend from Georgia sent it to her.
“We’re here in May, and it’s only gotten worse,” Perez said.
Perez’s best friend, Jennifer Mendes, stopped seeing her daughter’s formula on the shelves a few weeks ago.
“We found some and ordered from Walgreens,” Mendez said. “My mom was going to pick him up because he was on the other side of Dallas, but they canceled the order.”
Both women said they used their social circles and even social networks to try to find a mix for their children. They even found a Facebook group that linked mothers who needed certain formulas to people who could find them.
However, this group had members across the country, and delivery was often required.
“What if we make one for DFW because we’re all local,” Perez said.
They worked with their girlfriend Adriana Vazquez to create the DFW Formula Fed Babies Facebook group. They formed a group on Monday.
On Friday, more than 1,000 participants published the necessary formulas, shared photos of what they found, donated and sold.
The rules are simple: no overpricing. No sales samples (they are free).
“We just look at things like that when people are trying to take advantage of others in this situation,” Mendez said.
Jason Mesa, senior regional director of the Better Business Bureau, called the “best case scenario” such community groups observed.
“Every flaw … every opportunity that scammers can see in the headlines in the news, they will create fake appeals online … create fake websites to buy things,” Mesa said.
He said the BBB had not received any formal complaints about any specific businesses or fraud. He said that if they are reported, they are most likely specific websites or platforms where the interaction takes place.
“I know a lot of desperate moms are clinging to the wall trying to find it, and because of the demand, supply and strain, we’re noticing it’s happening,” Mesa said.
His advice is to take an extra step to make sure that the online profile that claims to sell the formula is a real person.
“You will see that profiles will appear … many of them may be fake,” Mesa said. “You really need to dig. Explore the profile. If a profile doesn’t have a lot of friends, networks, or groups of moms they’ve joined, it’s most likely a duplicate or captured profile. ”
He also said it was important to be careful with the form of payment requested. Methods that do not allow you to return money if necessary, such as bank transfers or money-sharing programs, are not recommended when working with someone you do not know.
Mesa said credit cards are best for online transactions because it is easier to report fraud.
“We’re at a critical point because we’re not talking days or weeks, we’re talking about hours, so we just want to convey information so moms know what to look for,” Mesa said.
He said the best option is a commitment to communities such as DFW Formula Fed Babies that are taking an extra step to protect members.