How will SNAP scam victims be reimbursed? Here’s what you need to know
Beneficiaries who have been targets of ‘skimming’ scams are able to get their money back after finalised plans with the USDA last year.
SNAP recipients in can receive money back that was scammed. Scammers using ‘skimming’ devices to steal Electronic Bank Transfer (EBT) cards from some of America’s poorest families have taken millions of dollars.
However, to counter this, spending plans announced by the US Department of Agriculture last December requires states to reimburse stolen funds. Maryland was the first state to have their plan approved, rescuing $2.5 million for nearly 4,000 victimes.
Under old provisions, federal funds were prohibited from being used to replace stolen SNAP money.
“It is never your responsibility to be at a loss for those funds. Your credit card company will reimburse you,” said Ashley Burnside, a senior policy analyst at the Center for Law and Social Policy. “So it is inequitable and unfair that if you’re using a different card solely because you’re a recipient of SNAP benefits, that if you fall victim to the exact same thing, that is your fault.”
There is no single website to access reimbursement claims due to the SNAP program being administered by individual states. A good start point would be your state’s SNAP portal.
A breakdown of ‘skimming’ scams
‘Skimming’ is the act of capturing credit card data without the cardholder’s knowledge. Criminals use skimming devices to gather this information, which can then be used to create counterfeit cards or for other fraudulent purposes.
The fraudsters place a device, known as an overlay, on top of a legitimate card reader, such as an ATM or a payment terminal. The overlay is designed to blend in with the original device and capture the cardholder’s information as they insert their card. This can include capturing the card’s magnetic stripe data or even capturing the cardholder’s PIN if the overlay includes a fake keypad.
The cardholders will be unaware that their information has been compromised until unauthorized charges appear on their accounts or they experience other forms of identity theft. This is particularly troubling for SNAP beneficiaries due to the precarious financial situation that necessitates the use of SNAP in the first place.