Many Americans Victims of SNAP Skimming; Will Not Get Reimbursement

A growing number of low-income households have been robbed using their SNAP EBT cards, and most do not receive reimbursement for the stolen funds, majority of them have no protection from the government. In October, the USDA issued an alert about skimming fraud that victimized thousands of cardholders.

Unprotected from Fraud

EBT cards are not covered by federal safeguards that protect credit and debit card holders from fraud. 

Only certain states in the country are eligible for reimbursement from the American Public Human Services Association if funds are proven to have been stolen. Victims of skimming fraud in California, Wisconsin, and Michigan are eligible for refunds. Still, cardholders in other states have been waiting for a long time with no reimbursements appearing in their accounts, according to a report. 

Some states have implemented prevention measures requiring participants to change their PINs. However, the majority has yet to engage in restoring benefits. Federal funds are also not an alternative for reimbursement because federal funds cannot be used to replace stolen SNAP funds.

Targeting SNAP Benefits Cardholders

Anyone who uses a credit, debit, or EBT card, including SNAP participants, is vulnerable to card skimming. Thieves use a device to copy EBT card information from a retailer’s card-swiping machine.

According to a new USDA warning, food stamp recipients are being targeted by thieves. The agency says it has received several reports of card skimming of EBT cards, and it is unknown how much money has been lost for those who rely on food stamps, a source posted. 

Tasya Peterson, a spokesperson for the Arizona Department of Economic Security, which manages the state’s SNAP program, proves an increase in SNAP fraud due to card skimming. The DES Office of the Inspector General investigates EBT card skimming incidents.

EBT cardholders who notice suspicious or fraudulent activity on their cards should immediately report it to FIS. EBT cardholders should also keep track of their balances and report any issues immediately.