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Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul
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May 20, 2022

***CONSUMER ALERT***
ATTORNEY GENERAL RAOUL URGES FAMILIES TO BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR FRAUD RELATED TO BABY FORMULA SHORTAGE

Chicago  — As families continue to navigate a nationwide shortage of baby formula, Attorney General Kwame Raoul today encouraged Illinois residents to be vigilant for scams by individuals attempting to exploit families struggling to find much-needed formula.

“The baby formula shortage continues to impact families across Illinois. On top of the stress of locating formula, people must also be on the lookout for scammers looking to take advantage of families’ desperation,” Raoul said. “I urge 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.”

Attorney General Raoul is urging consumers to exercise caution before buying any product from unknown sources, particularly from 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 also recommends that families follow guidance issued by the Federal Trade Commission and the Better Business Bureau in response to the baby formula shortage. Tips to help people avoid baby formula scams 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. The DOJ offered its assistance to states to ensure that consumers are protected against wrongful conduct. Defrauding consumers or charging unfairly high prices violates Illinois law, and the Attorney General’s office will take action to protect consumers against such conduct.

Attorney General Kwame Raoul’s Consumer Protection Division protects Illinois consumers and businesses victimized by fraud, deception, and unfair business practices. 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:

1-800-386-5438 (Chicago)
1-800-243-0618 (Springfield)
1-800-243-0607 (Carbondale)

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