Dutchess County Government issued a statement urging residents to protect their EBT Benefits against thieves.

Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) is an electronic system that allows a Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participant to pay for food using SNAP benefits. When a participant shops at a SNAP authorized retail store, their SNAP EBT account is debited to reimburse the store for food that was purchased.

EBT Users Being Targeted in Latest Scam, Says Dutchess County Government

Dutchess County Government said in a statement Thursday, January 26th that there's a statewide increase in incidents of Temporary Assistance (TA) and SNAP benefit theft via EBT card skimming on pinpads at retail locations. SNAP and TA clients are reminded to never give their card number of PIN to anyone.

The Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance warns users of skimming scams. Card skimming scams directly copy card and PIN information from EBT cardholders using a device known as skimmers placed on a store's card reading machine. The stolen data is used to access your EBT account and spend SNAP and cash benefits. Common places for skimming could be card readers at stores and ATM machines. Essentially, anywhere you swipe your EBT card.

Skimmers are typically difficult to notice, but you can do some things to look out for to protect yourself. For instance, the easiest way to check for a skimmer is to gently pull on the terminal. Skimmers are usually flimsy and will come off.

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Some skimmers block LED indicator lights or illuminated backlit keypad numbers, or partially cover stylus/pen trays. Another thing to look out for is that the faceplate may be loose, appear ill-fitting, or easily dislodged from the body of the machine. The faceplate may also be discolored, texturally mismatched, or otherwise appear different than the body of the card reading device.

If You Find Out That Your Benefits are Stolen

If you believe your card and benefits have been stolen, the OTDA suggest following these steps:

  • Contact EBT Customer Service to report your card stolen and change your pin. The number is 888-328-6399. You can also visit Contact EBT, or use their mobile app.
  • Contact your local department of social services fraud unit to notify them that your benefits have been stolen.
  • Contact local law enforcement to file a police report.

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