Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) fraud involving Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards is a growing concern in the United States. The illegal practice of skimming, in which fraudsters steal the card number and PIN off someone else’s EBT card, has severe consequences for the government and taxpayers. The cost of SNAP fraud is shared by all taxpayers, regardless of whether they qualify for the program.
In California alone, SNAP theft costs the state millions of dollars annually to replace stolen benefits according to Yahoo Finance. To address the issue, the state has proposed upgrading SNAP security features at the cost of $50 million in the next budget. Moreover, a study by LexisNexis Risk Solutions found that every $1 of benefits lost through fraud costs SNAP agencies $3.72, which includes additional costs related to internal labor and administrative tasks.
Fraud and Theft Continue to Rise
According to a published article at Go Banking Rates, fraud and theft involving food stamps continue to rise, and some recipients demand legal action against government agencies that refuse to reimburse fraud victims for stolen benefits. A class-action lawsuit was recently filed against the Massachusetts Department of Transitional Assistance.
If you believe you’ve been the victim of a skimming or phishing scam, the USDA recommends contacting your local SNAP office immediately. Recipients should also research their state’s refund policy, as some states cover stolen benefits.
SNAP skimming is a costly problem that impacts not only individuals but also government agencies and taxpayers. Governments should implement strict measures to prevent fraud and protect beneficiaries, and recipients should remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity. Working together can combat SNAP skimming and ensure that resources go to those who need them most.