Seven Steps to Avoid Becoming A Victim of Mommy Fraud

The rise of the Facebook group (and the ease at which they are created / joined) has provided a fertile ground for fraudsters to play in the cloth diaper world.  Women tend to trust each other and, assuming the best in each other, readily step into traps laid by those who prey on the gullibility of those new to the cloth diaper arena.  New Facebook groups make it easy for scam artists to jump from group to group.  This post will give you sevent steps for identifying and avoiding Mommy Fraud.

A diaper that was loaned to someone as part of the Share The Love cloth diaper bank program is marked with a heart on the tag. A diaper with these markings was donated for the purpose of being loaned out to a family in need. When the family is finished with the diapers, they are required to return them to the Share The Love program host in their area for use by another family.

A diaper that was loaned to someone as part of the Share The Love cloth diaper bank program is marked with a heart on the tag. A diaper with these markings was donated for the purpose of being loaned out to a family in need. When the family is finished with the diapers, they are required to return them to the Share The Love program host in their area for use by another family.

1.  Do some research in the media to verify a story before you believe stories of family crisis accompanied by requests for donations.  If you think you should help, whenever possible, send your gift through a credible organization.  This may seem unnecessary, but unfortunately, one of the more common fraudulent patterns of behavior involves a masterfully crafted personal crisis involving children combined with a requests for donations of cash or household items.  Often, once gifts are received, the items are sold for cash.

2.  When buying diapers through a private party, always request photos of the inside of a diaper (check for staining), the outside of the diaper (check for holes), the front and back of the label (look for special marks* and ask for details), and the inside of the PUL layer.  If you’re purchasing a Cotton Babies product from a private party and don’t understand the markings on the product you’re purchasing, feel free to call Cotton Babies with any questions.

3.  PayPal protects buyers.  Generally speaking, almost anyone is able to send and receive money via PayPal. Always request a detailed PayPal invoice that describes the condition of the product you’re purchasing.  Once you’ve received the invoice, Click “Pay Invoice” to send money.

4.  Never send money as a gift.  If you send money as a gift through PayPal, and the diapers don’t show up or aren’t as described, you have no recourse.

5.  When doing a trade, swap PayPal funds (using an invoice) that match the value of the trade before sending your package.

6.  Ask the person for links to public feedback about her previous business transactions.

7.  If you still have doubts, don’t go through with the transaction.

Are you experienced in buying and selling through Facebook groups?  Your pointers are welcome in the comments.

This diaper has a hole punch inside, marking it as a donated product that is part of the Share The Love Cloth Diaper Bank. It is not eligible for resale. If you find a diaper with this marking on the inside for sale anywhere, please take a screen shot and notify Cotton Babies immediately.

This diaper has a hole punch inside, marking it as a donated product that is part of the Share The Love Cloth Diaper Bank. It is not eligible for resale. If you find a diaper with this marking on the inside for sale anywhere, please take a screen shot and notify Cotton Babies immediately.

This diaper has a slit on the inside flap, marking it as a donated product that is part of the Share The Love Cloth Diaper Bank. It is not eligible for resale. If you find a diaper with this marking on the inside for sale anywhere, please take a screen shot a notify Cotton Babies immediately.

This diaper has a slit on the inside flap, marking it as a donated product that is part of the Share The Love Cloth Diaper Bank. It is not eligible for resale. If you find a diaper with this marking on the inside for sale anywhere, please take a screen shot a notify Cotton Babies immediately.

Do you have thoughts to add?

24 thoughts on “Seven Steps to Avoid Becoming A Victim of Mommy Fraud

  1. Fantastic advice. I will add: protect yourself as a seller too. Always ship with tracking and be sure to retain receipts/enter tracking information if postage isn’t purchased through PayPal. If you have no proof of shipment or delivery, your buyer can falsely file with PayPal and claim their item was never received.

    • Lauren that happened to me! I won’t buy or sell used anymore, sadly. I’d rather give my less used diapers to a friend now rather than sell them.

  2. The girls used to mark the diapers loaned out by Giving Diapers, Giving Hope. Unfortunately, this knowledge and understanding of markings or special snaps isn’t widespread enough and people can easily sell on a local level to people who aren’t in the cloth diaper community or even online to people who aren’t aware.

    To an organization like ours that is getting dozens of applications and shipping 5-20 boxes a week to do markings is more work than the cynic in me believes is worth it. I know Miracle Diapers used to do the same thing as well. (GDGH no longer ships and receives, GroVia does this now)

    I don’t think the fear of being scammed, or of having diapers re-sold, should overtake the mission of helping families get diapers. Anyone working for or volunteering for diaper banks can tell you many stories of entitled applicants or deserving families who still went on to sell the diapers, but the lesser heard voice is the one of the grateful family who really needed those diapers.

    Part of me wants to fight hard to prevent being taken advantage of and the other part understands that no matter the precautions you take and the rules you put forth- it will happen. I did the same thing when I was a supervisor in retail and had a hard time seeing so many people get away with scamming the company. It doesn’t make it right and it sucks but there will always be shitty people out there and life is too short to give them that much of my headspace and time.

    • I understand where you’re coming from. Marking diapers is a lot of work. We’ve decided that it is worth it. We want the families who are donating their diapers to the Share The Love program to be able to trust that we’ve done everything we can do to ensure that products given to the program will stay within the program.

      • Jennifer – Perhaps you should design a Share the Love print. The fabric itself could say that the diaper is not for sale somehow.

  3. Moms should also be aware that some people will sell “seconds” (these are diapers that have some problems, usually cosmetic, and are discounted) and not disclose that information.

  4. Don’t forget about other marks like tags that have been cut or ripped off. Some of the diaper banks out there mark the tags in some way if they can’t find a good spot to mark the diaper itself.

  5. What does a “w” on the tag mean? I knew the “x” for seconds and the heart, but just received two diapers today in a lot with a “w” with no mention of it from the seller.

    • A “W” stands for Well-Loved. The diaper was purchased new from Cotton Babies. It came back to us at some point in time either as a warranty return or as part of our Growing Up In Cloth program. Those diapers are then sold through our local Cotton Babies retail stores as part of our local Dollar Diaper sales. At those sales, Well Loved diapers sell for anywhere from $1 to $10 depending on condition and type of product.

  6. I would change this to reflect that the other person might not refund their side of the trade. You should agree on the value and then trade that amount and keep it. Just another way I could see scammers getting people. If I refund and you don’t, I’ve lost my ability to file a claim and you’ve kept my money. Other than that you made some good points. (And I got my start using diapers from your Share the Love program. Things were super tight when we wound up homeless just before my son was born. I don’t know what I would have done for diapers without you.)

    • True, also some people might not post their nappy either, keeping the new nappy, old and their money since this person won’t refund it and probably does not matter if the other part does not.

  7. Hi! I’m curious where the picture came from that heads the post? This is how we mark our daipers for Diaper <3 for families a WAHM run, cloth diaper loaning group on facebook.

    Thank you,

    Megan

  8. I also recommend people become familiar with what a NEW diaper is like before buying used. That way you have something to compare to see if everything is as described.

  9. I made the mistake of selling my diapers to a ‘friend ‘ that used and washed them for 2 weeks before returning them to me with the statement that she had ‘too many ‘ diapers already. She ruined most of my well loved diapers and even a few of my like new diapers . As well as keeping some. Make sure you are paid up front with no returns….

  10. Miracle Diapers/ Cloth Diaper Foundation also did this for years before they became defunct. I volunteered with them for many years as a Chapter Manager. Marking and fixing diapers took hours upon hours, but each client that we sent them to was told that they were marked by us, and they were not to alter or remove the tags or markings. They were also warned when they were approved for the loan that the diapers were never to be re-sold-even after we stopped the program. It’s a sad state. There are a lot of greedy, uncaring people out there and it hurts those of us who really want to help people and make a difference.

  11. The Rebecca Foundation Cloth Diaper Closet marks their diapers as well, typically with TRFCDC on them some even have special tags sewn in.
    Just thought Id spread the word 😉 We run off of donations so it def hurts foubdations like us and share the love for diapers not to be returned.
    Amanda
    The Rebecca Foundations West MI Chapter.

  12. When doing a trade, it isn’t necessary to refund. Since each party is essentially purchasing the other’s items. If you refund and they don’t, you’re not going to get your money back.

  13. I run a local CD pantry and mark my diapers with JCDB (Jenne’s Cloth Diaper Bank), sadly I’ve found several people trying to sell the diapers that they received for free from my pantry. I wish I didn’t need to mark them and people would just be honest if they no longer needed them or they didn’t work out for them.