WA DSHS: Card skimming has stolen $5.5M from EBT users

Washington’s Department of Social & Health Services (DSHS) is reporting a spike in EBT skimming, which has robbed SNAP recipients of $5.5 million since 2022.

According to a report by the Washington State Standard, DSHS has been tracking an "alarming surge" in EBT fraud, and it is not from the people using the cards. Instead, it comes from devices placed on EBT card readers, which copies down card information and can be used to steal people’s benefits.

Since they began tracking the scams in April 2022, the state agency has seen $5.5 million lost to EBT skimming, and $4 million of it was stolen from the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

DSHS is looking to shore up stolen benefits with federal and state funding, particularly from an act passed by Congress in 2023.

To protect your benefits against fraud, DSHS recommends the following steps:

  • Keep your EBT card PIN secret. Don’t share it with anyone outside your household. Be sure to cover the keypad when you enter your PIN on a machine.
  • Don’t share your EBT card number or PIN with anyone through phone or text. Phishing scams are rampant, especially through text messages.
  • Check your EBT account regularly for unauthorized charges. If you notice any, change your PIN immediately to stop any new purchases.
  • Check card-reading machines to make sure there’s nothing suspicious laid over the top or attached to the card swiper or keypad. Overlays can be hard to detect but are often bigger than the original machine and may hide parts of the machine.
  • Use features offered by Washington's EBT card vendor at ebtEDGE.com to freeze and unfreeze a card as well as block out-of-state and online transactions.

Anyone who believes they were scammed out of EBT benefits or notices any discrepancies is urged to first call EBT Customer Service at 888-328-9271, report it to police, then report the fraud to DSHS online.


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