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EBT Card Skimming Epidemic: Over 59,000 Households Affected, $30 Million Lost – USDA Report 2024

(photo: AP News)

Recent USDA statistics reveal a troubling rise in EBT card skimming affecting over 59,000 households and resulting in $30 million in lost benefits. Despite efforts to combat fraud and the problem has worsened prompting affected individuals to seek solutions.

Rise of EBT Card Skimming

Since its initial notice in October 2022, EBT card skimming has become widespread. States like Florida reported 356 cases of stolen SNAP benefits, while Detroit and Dixon, Illinois, faced large-scale fraud highlighting the issue’s national scope, according to the report of Salon.

Vulnerabilities of EBT Cards

EBT cards lack modern security features making them susceptible to skimming. Unlike credit/debit cards, they lack encryption allowing scammers to steal information easily leading to unauthorized transactions.

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(photo: KNDU)

Government Response and Reimbursement Efforts

President Biden’s Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023 enabled states to replace stolen benefits with federal funds until September 30, 2024. Over 127,000 fraud claims have been approved, totaling $62 million in reimbursed benefits. However, many victims didn’t file claims, exacerbating financial strain.

Challenges Faced by Victims

Victims bear the burden of reporting theft, requiring detailed documentation of transactions. Propel’s survey revealed that many victims were unaware of reimbursement options or faced denial of claims. This led to severe consequences, such as skipped meals and debt.

Protective Measures and Future Outlook

The USDA advises EBT cardholders to protect their PIN and card information, monitor accounts for suspicious activity, and stay alert to phishing attempts. However, with many victims unaware of theft sources and experiencing financial hardship concerted efforts are needed to enhance security and support affected households.

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