Card skimmers are being used to steal welfare benefits in Mississippi. The Department of Human Services says people using their EBT cards at grocery stores have fallen victim to a scam where thieves use skimming devices to steal the SNAP benefits. Skimmers are nothing new in Mississippi. They’ve been used in the past at gas pumps and ATMs to steal credit card and bank account information. DHS is asking SNAP recipients who believe their benefits have been stolen to contact the Mississippi EBT cardholder service center (1-866-512-5087) to request a new PIN and then to report the incident to the department’s Office of Inspector General (1-800-299-6905).
SNAP participants are encouraged to take the following actions that may help prevent card skimming:
- 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 to make sure there’s 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 machine.