There is a new scam in which thieves are using card-swiping machines to steal personal information from debit and credit cards. In some cases, skimmers have been used to steal EBT card information. The thieves clone client EBT cards and are able to access and steal the benefits.
Flyers with more information are available online in multiple languages, under “EBT Scam Alerts.”
HRA is actively investigating this fraud, and is working with the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) to try to make clients whole.
People who experience this should call the EBT Helpline at 888.328.6399 immediately to get a new EBT card and change their PIN, then call the HRA Fraud Unit at 718.722.8001. If they know or suspect where their card was skimmed, they should call the NYPD Financial Crimes Unit at 718-330-1805.
To-date, the DSS Accountability Office has identified 2,297 distinct CINS likely effected by this scam. The investigative team at DSS-AO’s Referrals and External Affairs (REA) division conducts client outreach to validate these findings. Not all clients identified by DSS-AO as potential skimming victims are responsive to investigative outreach.
DSS-AO also notes that the impacted population identified to-date is assumed to be a subset of the full scope of the issue. Our ability to identify this fact pattern through EBT transaction data is limited since we are only able to isolate the trend when benefits are being accessed simultaneously both locally and out-of-state. We are unable to identify clients who may have had their benefits skimmed, cloned, and fraudulently used at the local level, unless a client contacts us with an allegation.