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What should I do if I'm a victim of stolen SNAP benefits?

Philadelphia area victims come forward in scheme targeting low-income families' SNAP benefits
Philadelphia area victims come forward in scheme targeting low-income families' SNAP benefits 02:07

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- After a man from Chester told CBS News Philadelphia his SNAP benefits, sometimes referred to as food stamps, had been stolen leaving him wondering how he'll be able to put food on the table, our newsroom received an influx of victims facing similar situations.

Gov. Josh Shapiro confirmed the state has received reports of stolen SNAP benefits in Philadelphia and Southeast Pennsylvania due to card skimming devices and he's urging people to remain vigilant to avoid becoming a victim. 

If you are a Pennsylvania, New Jersey or Delaware resident on SNAP benefits and have noticed your EBT balance has been drained, here are some of the next steps you can take. 

Fill out a SNAP fraudulent complaint form

Fill out an EBT Card Skimming or Fraud Attestation Affidavit form online. 

Contact your county assistance office 

Brandon Cwalina, with the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services, said if you believe your benefits were stolen, you should call your local county assistance office to report the fraud and get your card replaced. A full list of Pennsylvania's county assistance offices is available at the link above.

Fill out a Pennsylvania COMPASS form

COMPASS provides residents with access to many of Pennsylvania's health and human services benefits online and allows you to learn about the benefits, see if you qualify, apply for benefits, renew existing benefits, manage your benefits and connect to additional benefits that aren't available on COMPASS. 

SNAP resources directory by state

In order to receive SNAP benefits or get more information, residents have to contact their local SNAP office. Each state has its own application, but if you don't see a SNAP application online, you'll need to reach out to your local SNAP office to request one.

Be aware of other scam and fraud alerts

The state of Pennsylvania asks benefit recipients to remain vigilant as there is currently a list of potential threats, scams and frauds targeting residents. Here's what you need to keep an eye out for. 

SNAP Fraud Prevention

Here's how the United States Department of Agriculture's Food and Nutrition Service is combatting SNAP fraud.

Additional links for SNAP benefit recipients in the Delaware Valley

Pennsylvania

New Jersey

Delaware 

Customer service phone numbers and tiplines

  • Statewide Pennsylvania Customer Service Center: 877-395-8930
  • Pennsylvania's Department of Human Service's Tipline: 1-844-DHS-TIPS (1-844-347-8477) or in Philadelphia call 215-560-7226.
  • Conduet - The Department of Human Service's EBT contractor: 1-888-328-7366
  • New Jersey's e-Child Care Swipe Card Customer Service: 1-800-997-3333

FBI recommendations when using POS terminal

  • Inspect POS terminals, ATMs, and other card readers before using. Look for anything loose, crooked, damaged, or scratched. Don't use any card reader if you notice anything unusual. 
  • Pull at the edges of the keypad before entering your PIN. Then, cover the keypad when you enter your PIN to prevent cameras from recording your entry. 
  • Use ATMs in a well-lit, indoor location, which are less vulnerable targets. 
  • Be alert for skimming devices in tourist areas, which are popular targets. 
  • Use debit and credit cards with chip technology. In the U.S., there are fewer devices that steal chip data versus magnetic strip data. 
  • Avoid using your debit card when you have linked accounts. Use a credit card instead. 
  • Contact your financial institution if the ATM doesn't return your card after you end or cancel a transaction. 

If you are a victim or know a victim, we would like to hear from you. Email us at tips@cbs3.com.

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