What Happened When a Scammer Swiped Your Snap Benefits?

Scammer Swiped Your Snap Benefits

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Virginians can now submit an application to get replacement benefits due to an increase in Supplementary Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) benefit scams.

SNAP benefits
The Virginia Department of Social Services noted a spike in scammers preying on the 461,688 households that signed up for the program last fall, according to Jennifer Cooper, Associate Director of Benefits Programs at the agency. (Photo: Bloomberg)

Scammers use of skimming devices at checkout counters, text messages

According to Jennifer Cooper, Associate Director of Benefits Programs for the Virginia Department of Social Services, the agency noticed an increase in scammers preying on the 461,688 households signed up for the program last fall.

In an article from ABC 8 News, this could be accomplished through the use of skimming devices at checkout counters, text messages informing victims that their EBT cards have been locked, or phone calls made by con artists posing as EBT vendors or Food Stamp officials.

Cooper claimed that we started acting as soon as we started hearing about it.

There weren’t many options for SNAP recipients until recently, when Virginia received federal funding to replace lost or stolen benefits for recipients who notice the issue from October 1, 2022 through September 30, 2024. This is in contrast to credit or debit cards, where people can call their bank to resolve the issue.

Cooper advised anyone who meet this criterion and have previously reported having their benefits stolen to get in touch with their local department of social services and fill out an attestation form, which essentially details the facts of the loss.

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What to do to avoid this scam?

In an article from Fraud Org, if this has occurred to you, you are encouraged to get in touch with your neighborhood social services office to submit an application within 30 days of learning about the offense. Once the reported loss has been reported, replacement monies will be issued within 10 days. Households are only permitted to receive two replacement issuances for benefits that have been stolen throughout the federal fiscal year, according to the Virginia Department of Social Services.

Cooper emphasized that the advantages might not be entirely replaced. There is an element of calculation. Based on the amount that was charged to the card in the month before the fraudulent conduct, a computation was made.

The Virginia Department of Social Services advises checking for skimming devices at the register and frequently updating your pin number to avoid this from happening.

Cooper noted that handling the top of the device will often reveal the skimming device, so we strongly advise folks to take a close look at these items, reports ABC 8 News. 

READ ALSO: Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency Cautions Student Borrowers: Be Alert Of Financial Aid Scams!

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