‘I just thought she was helping mothers out:’ Reno mom warns others of baby formula scam

Published: May. 23, 2022 at 11:19 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - The national baby formula shortage has forced some parents to search the internet for resources. A Reno mom is warning others to be extra careful and protect their hard-earned money after she says she was scammed when she tried to buy Enfamil formula for her seven-month-old son.

Denisse Matuz found a Facebook Marketplace post with the magic words ‘formula for sale’.

“I just thought she was being nice and she was helping mothers out,” said Matuz. “She had only one picture, she was like ‘I have more available if you wanted them but you’ll have to message me through my personal Facebook account’.”

The profile belonged to a single mom from Kentucky with recent updates and dozens of friends.

Matuz was asked to pay $40 for two cans of formula through Facebook Pay.

“She just told me, ‘I couldn’t mail it out to you, I couldn’t make it to the post office’ and I was like ‘Okay, that’s fine’ and then she said, she had another two tubs waiting for me and she wanted to help me out...She could leave it at $15 more,” said Matuz.

She went ahead and paid for the extra cans but never received the product, and the person who was supposed to help, stopped responding and blocked her.

“That (money) could’ve helped me, you know, put it towards something else,” said Matuz. “At that moment is just like, you don’t really believe that there’s people out there scamming for something that’s baby related.”

The Better Business Bureau encourages people to use credit cards when buying something from someone they don’t know.

“Because a credit card will provide greater protections than if you were to use something like PayPal, Zelle or Venmo,” said Timothy Johnston with the BBB. “Each of those different platforms provide different protections so you really need to know what those protections are, but more often than not, really what you’re doing is providing cash.”

The BBB recommends you check the scam tracker if you think you’re dealing with a scammer and to report the scam even if you did not lose any money, as it will help warn others.

Matuz hopes no other parent or guardian experiences this and suggests buying local and using safe exchange zones at local police departments.

For more information about the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office’s E-Commerce Exchange Zone, click here. The Reno Police Department’s Safe Exchange Zone is located on the north side of the City Hall and police building right beside the drive through payment kiosk located at 160 Blackburn Street in Reno. The Sparks Police Department has an E-Commerce Exchange Zone in their parking lot as well.

As for the Facebook profile at the center of this scam, KOLO 8 News Now found another page with the same name and a post indicating the account was hacked.

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