Warning: Health Products Bought Online Potentially Stolen, Tainted

03/28/2008 02:46 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Leslie Earnest Los Angeles Times

Popular health and beauty products sold on Internet auction sites could be stolen, tainted and possibly dangerous, according to a warning issued today by the National Retail Federation.

Advil, Visine, baby formula, diabetic testing strips and other goods are being stolen from stores, warehouses and cargo trailers and peddled on EBay and other online auction sites, said Joseph LaRocca, the group's vice president of loss prevention.

Because crooks typically don't keep what they steal in temperature-controlled environments, baby formula and medicines might be contaminated before they're delivered, he said. Although many retailers market health and beauty products online, the anonymity of those who use auction sites heightens buyers' vulnerability.

"In the online auction world, you do not know who you're buying the product from and you do not know where the product came from," he said. La Rocca said he wasn't aware of anyone who had been harmed by using such products, but he and others maintained that there was a risk.

Read the FDA's Warnings about buying medicine online.