Scam alert: Ohio warns SNAP recipients of scheme to steal benefits

Ohio is alerting Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program recipients to protect themselves from fraud as criminals work to steal benefits.

The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services reminded SNAP recipients to be extra cautious after the U.S. Food and Nutrition Service warned of a scheme targeting SNAP benefits.

Criminals are reportedly installing card skimmers on credit card reader machines at retailers to steal card data or SNAP households’ PINs. They then use the data to create fake EBT cards to steal the benefits.

Thieves may also try to scam SNAP recipients through fake phone calls or texts that appear to come from ODFJS officials.

“ODJFS takes fraud very seriously, and we are committed to identifying and eliminating fraud in the SNAP program,” ODJFS Director Matt Damschroder said. “From increased fraud monitoring efforts to helping SNAP cardholders lock their cards, we’re aggressively working to reduce fraud.”

SNAP recipients can take the following steps to protect themselves from fraud:

  • Manage benefits thought the ConnectEBT app.
    • Users can take advantage of the card lock option, which allows the cardholder to lock the card from being used at a retailer location and then unlock the card only when they are making a purchase.
    • Users can also block out-of-state transactions in-person only.
  • Use a PIN that is unique and hard to guess.
  • Change your PIN monthly, before scheduled deposits.
  • Never share your PIN or card number. The ODJFS will never ask for those numbers.
  • Check point-of-sale card readers before using them for skimming devices.
  • When using your card, cover the keypad with your body or hand to stop others from seeing your PIN.

Anyone whose benefits were stole can seek reimbursement by calling their county department of job and family services.

About the Author