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How to detect, report, and prevent benefits theft

(updated November 21, 2023)
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Benefits theft is on the rise, especially for people who receive food stamps, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), or other benefits on an EBT card. Benefits theft can be devastating, and we’re here to provide as much information as possible to help you protect yourself. Here’s what you need to know.

How does benefits theft happen?

Scammers take your benefits by getting your EBT card information.

Scammers hide skimming devices on credit card machines and steal your EBT card number and PIN when you swipe your card. Then, they can make a copy of your card and steal your food stamps and cash benefits. This crime can happen anywhere you use your card, like ATMs or grocery stores.

Scammers also send text messages claiming your EBT card has been locked or that you’ve won a prize. The text messages ask you to call or text a phone number to fix the problem or claim the prize. These texts are scams–don’t respond if you get one.

Keep in mind that Providers does not have the ability to access or spend EBT funds. We never save the data necessary to make any purchases. Learn more about Providers security protocols.

How can I protect my benefits?

  1. Check your EBT balance regularly for unauthorized transactions. By checking your balance, you’ll know quickly if there’s a problem, and be able to report it, fast. This is the most important thing you can do to fight benefits theft. Download the Providers app to stay on top of your balance
  2. Change your EBT card PIN each month. Consider changing your PIN each month before your deposit date. Call the phone number on the back of your card to change your PIN.
  3. Think before responding to texts or calls about your EBT card. If you get a text or call saying there’s a problem with your EBT card, it is likely a scam. If you’re in doubt, call the number on the back of your card for more information.

My benefits were stolen off my EBT card. What do I do now?

Benefits theft is a horrible crime. It is important that you act quickly to increase the likelihood that you will be reimbursed. Start by:

  1. Reporting the crime to your caseworker or your state’s food stamp office
  2. Filing a report with local law enforcement

There may be other steps to take in your state. Contact your caseworker or visit the help section of the Providers app for more state-specific information.

If your benefits were stolen in or after October 2022, you may be eligible to have your benefits reimbursed.

How can Providers help?

Providers makes it as easy as possible to check your EBT card balance, which is the best way to catch benefits theft. We’ve also taken extra measures to make sure your information is safe and secure.

Providers accesses your EBT account information with your permission via state EBT systems. We only have “read-only” access to your EBT data, and can’t make changes to your account. We ask for and store as little of your information as possible, and we never store PINs, full EBT card numbers, or SSNs on our servers. Learn more about our privacy & security protocols.

We’ll continue to support you in making the most of your benefits and keeping them safe. Download the Providers app to keep track of your EBT balance and get updates on your benefits.

Have questions? Email us at help@joinproviders.com.

Please note that Providers is not part of the government. If you have specific questions about SNAP or other benefits, contact your caseworker or local human services office.



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