New York City introduces new way to help victims of food-stamp theft
New York City introduced a new approach to help victims of food stamp fraud recover their stolen benefits.
Representatives from the city's Department of Social Services were present at the Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Center, helping victims with paperwork and gathering information to help them recover their food stamps.
Curtis Campbell was one of the first waiting after the center opened at 10 a.m.. As he filled out the needed paperwork, he said he remembers when he noticed his food stamps were stolen.
"I was going to the supermarket, I only had $8 worth of items," Campbell said. "When the card kept declining, I said, 'what's going on?"
The incident didn't happen just once, but three times this year. He said canceled his card each time and reported the fraud, adding he felt he did not get far when turning to the state's SNAP program for help.
"So I'm down here today if I can get some help," He said.
Campbell was called up and spoke with one of the reps. The rep gathered his information, though he did not express a lot of optimism in the recovery effort. Maurice Blackman, the agency's community coordinator, looked over the event. He says that they're currently aware of just over 20,000 instances of food stamp fraud, but that there could be more.
Blackman says the agency believes it can "very confidently" get victims' stolen food stamps back. He credits federal legislation that was passed last year, which provides money to recover stolen food stamps. He says food stamps tend to get stolen because of skimming - when the card machine could be tampered with another device to steal your data.
If you feel you're a victim of having your food stamps stolen, you can submit a claim with the city online where information on what's needed is available.