Food, cash assistance stolen at the ‘absolute worst time of year’

Theft of food benefits and cash assistance for the poor has been reported statewide, and although local agencies are sympathetic and committed to helping, the victims will not be reimbursed before the holidays.

There have been more than a dozen fraud reports in Cuyahoga County since last week, said Kevin Gowan, director of jobs and family services for Cuyahoga County.

“We’re talking about $5,200 short of 14 lawsuits,” Gowan said.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits are stolen through a process called skimming. This process involves holding your device up to a card reader to steal information from your payment card. The skimmer looks like a real card reader. Once the card is read, the skimmer steals information such as the cardholder’s name, card number, expiration date and security code. The data is then transferred to the cloned card. People may not even realize their profits are being stolen.

“This is new. This is new this year,” said Gowan. “We’ve been notified by the state that it’s happening, and it’s happening nationwide.”

SNAP recipients must verify their account and change their personal identification number (PIN), Gowan said. The recipient should also inspect the card reader to see if a skimmer has been placed on it. Officials say if the skimmer is on the card reader, it can stick out and become unstable.

The benefits are from the federal government and are non-refundable.

“Laws have been put in place to remedy that,” Gowan said.

Gowan said Cuyahoga County Job and Family Services is working with community organizations to ensure that no one goes without food during the holidays.

“We are working on an effort to perfect them and replace some of the benefits at the county level, but we just learned this,” Gowan said. to complete them.

Scams have also been reported in Stark and Tuscalawas counties.

“This is the absolute worst time of the year and the worst population to do this,” Gowan said. I’m talking about people

In a statement, the Ohio Department of Work and Family Services said it is working with investigators on fraud cases involving SNAP benefits and cash assistance through the Ohio Works First program.

If you believe your benefits have been stolen, you should notify your local Department of Health and Human Services of the investigation and file a theft report with local law enforcement, officials say. You will also need to change your PIN and request a new card. The number to request a new SNAP Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card is 866-386-3071. To apply for a new cash card, call 866-320-8822.

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