Consumer Alert: Steps to Take If You’ve Fallen Victim to SNAP Skimming

This consumer notice serves as an urgent warning for SNAP beneficiaries. News10NBC has been investigating how criminals are stealing money from EBT cards using skimmer devices. Due to the lack of a microprocessor, EBT Cards are significantly more susceptible to larceny than other credit and debit cards. They only feature a magnetic strip, requiring users to scan their cards. In this manner, criminals will pilfer your money.

News10NBC obtained surveillance footage from a store in Penfield depicting a criminal attaching a face-plate to a point-of-sale terminal. The face-plate is identical to the terminal, so most customers would not notice. And the thief can readily obtain this information when you scan your card. Ali Solehdin, Chief Product and Strategy Officer of Inetco, a cybersecurity software company, says that if EBT cards contained a chip, it would be much more difficult to pilfer your money.

“They are extremely straightforward to duplicate and to obtain information from. On chip cards, all information is encrypted,” said Solehdin. “The states must do everything possible to protect the most vulnerable members of society while also safeguarding taxpayer dollars.”

Thursday, Monroe County issued a warning about the burglaries and stated that replacement applications are being expedited.

Each month, more than 60,000 individuals in Monroe County rely on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for sustenance.

According to the New York Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, between January 2022 and July of this year, more than $20,000 in claims for snap skimming totaling more than $16 million were reported. Also, this is not all. During the same time frame, twelve thousand claims of public assistance fraud totaling more than $4 million in misappropriated funds were reported.

The USDA, the federal agency responsible for administering the food assistance program, is presently evaluating security measures.

For instance, the states of Louisiana, Missouri, Oklahoma, Massachusetts, and Illinois were selected to pilot a mobile snap program that enables consumers to pay by scanning their phones. And the USDA is collaborating with states that are contemplating the implementation of chip cards. The state Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance administers our SNAP program, so I inquired as to what New York is doing to safeguard your benefits. A spokesman would only say that the office is collaborating with the USDA to identify options for enhancing EBT card security.

A new federal law went into effect on October 1, 2022, allowing you to receive reimbursement if your funds were taken on or after that date. Anyone whose benefits are stolen must contact the EBT Customer Service Helpline immediately to report the theft and request a replacement EBT card by:

  • Calling 1-888-328-6399
  • Visiting ConnectEBT
  • Through the ConnectEBT mobile app
  • After reporting their EBT card stolen and requesting a replacement card, they can apply for replacement benefits, otda.ny.gov/ebtscam

Those in Monroe County looking to get replacement benefits will need to visit Monroe County Social Services on St. Paul Street and file an application.

 

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Source: News 10

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