VIRGINIA BEACH, Va.— A new scam is preying on vulnerable mothers. The national shortage of baby formula is pushing parents to search the internet for resources. One Virginia Beach mother tells us parents should be extra careful to avoid potential scams.
Scammers are tricking parents into paying high prices for baby formula through fake websites and social media profiles according to the Federal Trade Commission. One mother who News 3 reporter Kelsey Jones spoke with fell victim.
"I just can't believe I fell for something like that, but it can honestly happen to anybody," Tiffani-Lynn Synnott said.
The unthinkable happened after Synnott got tricked out of money, all while trying to find food for her friend's 3 month-old son.
"It's hard with everything going on, and all the parents and the moms looking for a certain type of formula" said Synnott.
Leading her to search on Facebook looking for baby formula. Synnott said she came across an account that was willing to help.
"She messaged me and she said I will send it out to you the next day. My husband works for United States Postal Service if you can Venmo me the money. I paid her the whole $85 she said cool, I will send it out the next day and I told her to let me know what the tracking number is," said Synnott.
The formula never arrived and Synott says she's been blocked from the account. We caught up with another mother who says she is aware of this scam which has caused her to be very alert in her Facebook groups.
"Watch who you scam because someone is not just going to let that slide. That's their last bit of money for formula," Iedoubina Marc, someone aware of the scam, said.
Although the federal government is aiming to alleviate the formula shortage, stores across the country are still struggling to keep shelves stocked.
"For my friend with her son she calls me crying a lot because it's hard. There were times that I have driven down to almost the border of Virginia, North Carolina just to find formula," said Synnott.
Experts say report fraud to the social media platform where you saw it, law enforcement, and credit card companies, and keep receipts from all transactions.