From Monday, July 17 and on, the Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF) is addressing the growing issue of the Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card thefts across the nation. In an important move for those in need, the DCF announced its acceptance of requests for the replacement of stolen SNAP benefits. This program aims to assist Kansans whose essential food resources have been stolen, ensuring they can continue to provide healthy and nutritious meals for their families.
While there have been fewer than 20 reported cases of stolen food stamps benefits statewide in Kansas, the prevalence of such incidents across the United States was not ignored by the authorities. After President Joe Biden signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023, which includes a provision for the replacement of stolen EBT benefits using federal funds, local Kansans officials asked the local beneficiaries to make the report, in order to get the money back.
Eligibility for stolen food stamps replacement in Kansas
The DCF has outlined the eligibility criteria and specific types of stolen food assistance benefits that will be covered under this replacement program. The following incidents between October 1, 2022, and September 30, 2024, will be considered for replacement.
First, it’s the skimming method, which involves obtaining personal data from EBT cards while they are being used at an ATM or point-of-sale (POS) device. Also, will be considered for substitution those EBT cards that were cloned. This is a type of crime where the perpetrator creates a digital copy of the card information using a concealed or disguised electronic scanner. The cloned information is then used to produce a new physical card that will be utilized for buying stuff and services.
The third category was called “similar fraudulent events” that include phishing or scamming attacks by criminals to obtain EBT card numbers, which are subsequently used for cloning EBT cards or conducting unauthorized online transactions. If you were a victim, go right now to the Kansas’ DCF website and file the report. The phone numbers 1-888-369-4777 or 1-800-432-3913 (Kansas’ Fraud Hotline) are also available.
How to avoid falling victim to credit card or EBT thieves
Taking care of your SNAP resources is quite important since your family depends on it. Choosing a secure Personal Identification Number (PIN) is the first line of defense against potential fraudsters. Avoid using simple number combinations like 1111, 1234, or 9876 that can be easily guessed. Instead, create a PIN that is unique and difficult for others to figure out. Consider using a combination of numbers and letters or incorporating special characters for enhanced security.
Safeguarding the secrecy of your PIN and card number is absolutely necessary, specially nowadays. Only share this sensitive information with individuals within your household who are authorized to access your benefits. Never disclose your PIN or card number to anyone outside your trusted circle. When entering your PIN on a machine, be mindful of your surroundings and cover the keypad to prevent prying eyes from observing your entry.
Phishing scams continue to pose a significant threat to benefit recipients. Be wary of any unsolicited calls or text messages claiming to be from state agencies or Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) processors. Legitimate organizations won’t request you to give them your card number or even the PIN. It’s also advisable to regularly change that number and, after every purchase, monitor your account in order to determine if all the transactions are legitimate.