Victims of SNAP scams could get benefits replaced as early as this summer

WAFF 48's Claudia Peppenhorst reporting
Published: May. 26, 2023 at 6:40 PM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - The Alabama Department of Human Resources (DHR) will soon offer reimbursements to victims of SNAP scams and fraud.

On Tuesday, May 30, DHR will begin offering replacements to victims who file a report to their local office. Alabama Food Assistance Director Brandon Hardin said DHR is seeing more and more scams in the past year, so the department knew that a replacement program was necessary.

“We’ve seen around three to four hundred individuals that have been affected by this since October 1,” Hardin said. “We thought it was the best thing to do to move forward with a waiver to be able to make sure that we address these concerns.”

To qualify, your SNAP benefits had to have been stolen after October 1st, 2022.

Hardin says the most common forms of theft are EBT card skimming, card cloning, and text message fraud. Through these scams, thieves are able to get your account number and pin to access your benefits.

“Here lately what we’ve seen is a lot of phishing scams with text messages going out asking them to respond and give their card number and their pin,” Hardin said. “DHR will never ask for your pin number.”

Earlier this year, Alabama became the fourth state approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service to start a program for reimbursing victims. Hardin said his department will always act quickly to help clients.

“We always believe that we’re going to do what’s best for our clients,” Hardin said. “We want to make sure that we continue to put our best foot forward for those folks and advocate to make sure that their needs are met.”

Benefits stolen between Oct. 1, 2022, and May 30, 2023, must be reported by June 30 to be eligible for replacement. After that date, victims will have 30 days after the theft to make a report.

The reimbursement program is set to end on Sep. 30, 2024.

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