A Truly Sad Formula Return Scam Uncovered — "This Is Why I Stopped Helping People"

Melissa Willets - Author

Feb. 7 2024, Published 11:46 a.m. ET

A truly sad scam that employed a real live baby was caught on camera and has gone viral on social media.

But an associate called out the couple who were attempting to take advantage of other store customers — since this was far from the first time it's happened.

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In a TikTok shared by the account @onecutecouponer, the creator wonders in a caption, "What do you think is going on here?"

Commenters knew right away what they were witnessing. Here's the scoop.

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The scam saw a couple asking other customers to buy baby formula — but it seems they didn't really need or want it.

The scam that the store associate busted the couple for seems to involve a woman and man with an actual baby in tow asking customers for money to buy baby products like formula and diapers.

But then, plot twist, they turn around and return the items, walking away with the cash or store credit to buy something else, such as cigarettes or alcohol (at least if you ask commenters about their experiences).

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Over 3,000 commenters flooded the post to share stories of seeing this scam in person, or being asked to pay for baby products in the past.

Many weren't surprised this happens even if they hadn't personally experienced the scam.

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Other commenters were shocked, but everyone seems to agree on a few things.

First, it's a boon on the store associate who called the couple out for what they were doing. And as you can see in the TikTok, the associate actually asks that the couple be removed from the store.

Secondly, what the couple is doing here takes advantage of the generosity of others, and just makes it harder for people who are truly in need to be trusted. "This is why I have just stopped helping unless I know people personally. So sad," said one TikTok user.

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The baby formula scam is apparently nothing new.

If you search TikTok, you can easily find other people sharing stories about how a family has approached them asking for help to buy baby formula or diapers.

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And everyone is distraught.

"Scammers ruin human kindness because some people actually need help and there are people that would help but it is hard to tell sometimes who is genuine," lamented one person on a TikTok of woman who says she worries she was scammed at Target.

This creator, @ratedspecialk, even admits to giving a woman with children who asked for her help her phone number in case she was in need in the future.

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Beyond just feeling sad for humanity, at least these shares serve as important PSAs for shoppers who are struggling to make ends meet in a tough economy as it is.

Sadly, if you are approached by someone — even if they have a child or baby — and they ask you to buy diapers or formula, it may be best to say "no" and instead, if you want to help, donate to a local charity that helps families in need.

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