At a time when consumers are scrambling to find baby formula — causing a surge in online sales — a growing number of fraudsters are focused on making an already bad situation even worse, according to Signifyd, a market leader in ecommerce fraud protection.

Since April 1, online sales of formula are up 49% from a year ago. During the first two weeks of May, 10 of the 13 top-selling items in Signifyd’s ecommerce grocery data were infant formula products. Some labels saw massive increases in sales, greater than 1,000% in some cases. Tight supply has also fueled attempts to fraudulently purchase formula, which has been a high-risk item historically.

“Since the beginning of April, we’ve seen more than a 1,500 percent increase in fraud attempts on baby formula transactions, in a marketplace that currently has a very small supply,” said Signifyd Senior Director of Product Marketing & Communications Ashley Kiolbasa. “That means that a lot of consumers are being taken advantage of and we’d like to offer some help.”

Following are three tips that Signifyd urges consumers to follow when shopping online:

  • Remember the old adage ‘If it looks too good to be true then it probably is’ — especially when it comes to the availability of baby formula in the market today. Desperate times can lead to desperate measures. Don’t take the bait.
  • If unfamiliar with a seller, take the time to research them online along with the word ‘scam’. If they caught your attention, they most likely scammed others before you as well. If they did, it’s often revealed in a Google search.
  • If you spot a scam, report it to the Federal Trade Commission at ReportFraud.ftc.gov

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