‘This is a hardship.’ EBT fraud impacting many Brownsville residents

A Department of Social Services spokesperson released a statement to News 12 about this type of fraud offering tips.

Nadia Galindo

Jun 14, 2024, 3:01 AM

Updated 39 days ago

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A Brownsville woman is fighting to get her SNAP benefits back after discovering $260 was stolen from her account this week.
Felicia, who didn't want to give her last name, says she is now in the process of getting a new EBT card and hopes she will be able to get the stolen funds reimbursed.
"This is ridiculous. This is a hardship, this is a crisis and it needs to be addressed," said Felicia.
Many of Felicia's neighbors at the Van Dyke Houses in Brownsville are experiencing the same type of electronic theft.
"Yesterday my mother's food stamps usually come," said resident Augustine Sanchez. "When she called she noticed it said zero balance."
The theft often happens after an EBT card is illegally skimmed by thieves at ATMs and card readers. The information is then used to make unauthorized purchases.
In February, a new feature was implemented in the EBT Edge app which allows cardholders to freeze their account when it's not in use and then unfreeze benefits to make purchases.
Felicia downloaded the app but is having trouble logging in. "There's a lot of elderly people out here that can't do all that," she said.
Brooklyn state Sen. Iwen Chu said many of her constituents are experiencing this type of fraud and recently proposed a bill that would require a study to be done on SNAP fraud in the state.
"The numbers show it's really exploding," said Chu. "The level of the fraud and we as a state need to take action."
If you are experiencing EBT Fraud call the EBT Customer Service line at 1-888-328-6399.
A Department of Social Services spokesperson released a statement to News 12 about this type of fraud offering tips.
"Electronic benefits theft is a cruel and malicious practice that targets some of New York City's most vulnerable residents and deprives them of the critical resources they need to keep themselves and their families healthy, fed, and housed. To defend against skimming, phishing, and other scams, EBT cardholders should regularly change their PIN, monitor their EBT account for suspicious transactions, avoid sharing their card details, and closely inspect card readers for evidence of a skimming device. We also recommend that cardholders begin utilizing the new EBT card freeze feature that allows users to block transactions when their card is not in use."


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