How to detect, report, and prevent benefits theft

(updated March 22, 2023)
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If you get food stamps, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), or other benefits on an EBT card, you might know that benefits theft is on the rise. Providers is here to help you protect your benefits. Here’s what to watch out for and how to protect yourself.

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 information 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 the Providers app isn’t involved in any EBT transactions. We just help you check your EBT card balance.

How can I protect my benefits?

  1. 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.
  2. Check your EBT balance regularly for unauthorized transactions. By checking your balance, you’ll know quickly if there’s a problem. Download the Providers app to stay on top of your balance.
  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, take a minute before you act. It’s probably 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 an awful crime. If your benefits have been stolen, start by:

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

There may be other steps to take in your state. Your caseworker will have more information.

If your benefits were stolen in or after October 2022, your state is now required to repay your benefits. States are currently setting up systems to repay benefits. We’ll update this page when we have more information about these systems.

How can Providers help?

Providers makes it as easy as possible to check your EBT card balance. We’ve put in extra measures to make sure your information is safe and secure. We built Providers to be as safe as possible from the very beginning. That's why we ask for and store as little of your information as possible. We never save your EBT card number or PIN.

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

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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