NEW YORK STATE (WWTI) — The New York State Division of Consumer Protection is warning parents in New York of scams amid the ongoing baby formula shortage.

According to the Division, parents need to be aware of individuals using the baby formula shortages to scam those desperate for products. These scams are often rooted in online sales and private sellers who increase the price.

“Parents, feeling the pressures of the shortage, may find themselves scrambling to find alternative solutions but in the end could end up being scammed by unscrupulous bad actors online,” Secretary of State Robert J. Rodriguez said in a press release. “At a time when there is a national shortage of baby formula, it is imperative that parents and guardians be aware of scams and know how to spot illegitimate online sales.”

Especially when shopping online, the Division urged consumers to take heightened caution. Consumers should be aware of fake websites and third-party vendors. If shopping on new sites, read seller policies, review ratings, consumer comments and do a broad internet search before making a purchase.

If websites are advertising unusually low prices, consumers should also be wary and diligently verify the legitimacy of the seller.

For online purchases, consumers are advised to use a credit card rather than a debit card. That way, if an item arrives in a different description or doesn’t arrive at all, individuals can dispute the charge with their credit card provider.

When buying baby formula, individuals should also ensure the products they are buying is not subject to recall, confirm the formula is new, sealed and is not expired. Information on recalls can be found on the FDA’s website.

Additionally, consumers should know their rights. The Federal Mail, Internet or Telephone Merchandise Rule states that an individual’s order must be delivered within 30 unless otherwise stated. If there is a delay, consumers must be notified. This applies to merchandise sold online, by mail or by phone.

The New York State Division of Consumer Protection provides voluntary mediation between a consumer and a business when a consumer has been unsuccessful at reaching a resolution on their own.

The Consumer Assistance Helpline 1-800-697-1220 is available Monday to Friday from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, excluding State Holidays