The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) reminds West Virginians participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) of the heightened risk of Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card fraud and stolen benefits. The U.S. Department of Agriculture and DHHR have recently received several reports of card skimming, phishing, or cloning scams to steal SNAP benefits.
DHHR is working with state and federal partners, SNAP retailers, EBT processors, and other industry experts to protect SNAP benefits and combat SNAP benefit theft.
“Card skimming can happen to anyone who uses a credit, debit or EBT card, including SNAP participants,” said Janie Cole, DHHR’s Commissioner for the Bureau for Family Assistance. “SNAP benefit theft victimizes low-income individuals who rely on these benefits to feed their families, and it will not be tolerated.”
Theft of SNAP benefits is punishable by federal and state law and can include imprisonment and financial penalties. If a recipient of SNAP benefits is convicted of benefit theft, penalties may also include being banned from participating in the SNAP program.
Through the federal Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023, DHHR can replace stolen EBT benefits due to card skimming, cloning or phishing, retroactive to October 1, 2022, and through September 30, 2024. Replacement benefits cannot exceed the actual amount stolen or the household’s benefit allotment amount for the two months immediately preceding the theft, whichever is lesser.
West Virginia residents who receive SNAP benefits and believe benefits have been stolen due to card skimming, cloning, or phishing, should contact their local DHHR office or contact the DHHR Customer Service Center at 1-877-716-1212 to file a claim. For a list of DHHR county offices and phone numbers, visit https://dhhr.wv.gov/pages/field-offices.
For more information on SNAP scams and tips to protect EBT cards and benefits, visit http://dhhr.wv.gov/ebt/pages/snap-scam-alerts.