NEW YORK (PIX11) — With infant formula shortages hurting parents across the country, some parents in New York have become desperate to find sources of nutrition for babies.

Gov. Kathy Hochul announced resources for parents in need on Thursday. The New York State Division of Consumer Protection on Wednesday warned about scammers targeting parents in need.

“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,” NY Secretary of State Robert Rodriguez said. “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.”

Parents should safety check products, be cautious if people direct message over social media about formula, use caution when shopping online and beware of fake websites and third-party vendors. They should also use credit cards rather than debit cards for online purchases so charges can be disputed with the credit card provider if necessary.

Millions of babies in the U.S. rely on formula, which is the only source of nutrition recommended for infants who aren’t exclusively breastfed.

“In close coordination with our federal partners, New York State will continue to do everything possible to support New York families in need of formula for their infants,” Gov. Hochul said. “My administration is committed to ensuring every newborn and child has access to the nutritional support they need to stay healthy. I urge every parent and guardian to take advantage of these resources and keep up to date with important information to take care of their families.” 

New York’s Women, Infants, Children program has been able to help parents get formula through alternate stores. WIC has also coordinated with manufacturers to get formula to participating parents. WIC parents can contact their local agencies for help.

Parents can also use the Department of Health’s chatbot to see if their children are eligible for WIC benefits. DOH Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett urged parents to check eligibility. She shared a number of other recommendations for parents:

  • Call your OGBYN or your baby’s medical provider to see if they have samples. You can also ask them for formulas that will work for your child that might be more readily available.
  • Visit smaller stores that carry formula. Try calling to see if formula is in stock.
  • Check online for options, but only buy from well-recognized distributors and pharmacies.