RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – As parents continue to struggle to find formula for their babies, the Federal Trade Commission is warning them to be on the lookout for scammers looking to take advantage of supply issues.
For Raleigh mother, Brittany Wei finding formula for nearly 5-month-old Gavin wasn’t easy.
“Talking to a lot of people on Facebook, a lot of moms are giving me tons of formula,” Wei said. “I have to go to their house, (but) it’s free thank goodness. And I have WIC, so every month I get 10 cans for free, but then I call a lot of stores and they don’t have it, so I have to keep on calling and then finally someone has it, so it’s a lot.”
CBS 17 went searching, too, going to eight stores in Raleigh and Cary.
Only Costco in Raleigh was completely sold out of formula at the time crews looked.
Similac and Gerber were two of the more common in stock brands, and parents said it’s finding the right brand that can be very challenging.
The Wal-Mart in Cary that crews went to appeared to have the largest supply. It does have a limit of five units per child, however.
Wegmans in Raleigh was the only place crews saw Enfamil, but only a single box was found.
Additionally, the CVS on New Bern Avenue was one of the only places crews spotted a few cans of Elecare.
“I don’t want him to starve with the shortage, I feel scared,” Wei said.
That’s why North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein is warning parents about scammers.
“What we’re seeing is scammers trying to take advantage of people’s desperation,” Stein said.
He said stick to trusted retailers.
“Be very wary about dealing with companies you don’t know online because you have no idea who they are, if they have the product at all, or if the product they’re gonna send you is safe, so stick with trusted retailers you know,” Stein said.
His office hasn’t received baby formula scam complaints, but received five complaints of potential price gouging. He said retailers can charge more if their costs have gone up, but if it seems like you’re being ripped off to report it to his office here or call 877-5-NO-SCAM to file a complaint.
A little over a week ago, CBS 17 spoke to Kayleigh Rogers. At the time, she was down to a few days supply of formula. We followed up with her and asked her what it’s been like to find more.
“We have actually been a little lucky, we were able to get a partial pharmacy order, so we were able to get three cans out of eight cans,” Rogers said. She also said she received donations through Facebook.
“It’s pretty much become a full-time job hunting for formula,” Rogers said.
Another resource is your child’s pediatrician. They sometimes have samples or extras.
Pediatricians can also advise you on a similar brand you could switch to. Doctors say do not try at-home recipes, however.