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MSDH warns SNAP recipients of electronic skimming schemes

Photo by SuperTalk Mississippi News

The Mississippi Department of Human Services (MDHS) is warning SNAP Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) recipients of scammers.

Leaders with the MDHS confirm that they’ve received multiple reports of persons gaining access to individuals’ SNAP EBT card numbers and PINs through skimming.

Card skimmers are fraud devices that collect or copy card information when a card is swiped or scanned for payment. Criminals attach card skimmers to common card reading devices like grocery stores or gas pump payment systems.

MDHS officials are urging all SNAP clients who suspect they are a victim of fraud by skimming since October 2022 to take the following actions:

  • Call the Mississippi EBT cardholder service center at (866) 512-5087 to report the card as compromised and create a new PIN. This will deactivate the card and send a new card to the account holder.
  • All clients who suspect they are a victim of fraud by skimming are asked to file a report of the incident with the MDHS Office of Inspector General fraud hotline at (800) 299-6905 to open an investigation into the case.

SNAP participants are encouraged to take the following actions that may help prevent card skimming in the future:

  • Avoid Simple PINs: Number combinations such as 1111, 1234, or 9876 may be easy for others to guess.
  • Frequent PIN changes: By changing PINs frequently, at least monthly, and doing so before benefit issuance dates, households can minimize their risk of stolen benefits from a previously skimmed EBT card.
  • Keep your PIN secret: Do not share your PIN with anyone outside your household. Cover the keypad when you enter your PIN on a machine.
  • Check your EBT account regularly for unauthorized charges: If you notice any, change your PIN immediately to stop the thief from making new purchases.
  • Check card reading machines: Make sure there is nothing suspicious overlayed or attached to the card swiper or keypad. The overlays can be difficult to detect but are often bigger than the original machine and may hide parts of the device.

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