Scams occur at any time of the year, but they can be more prevalent during the holiday season. For example, benefits can be stolen through electronic scams like skimming and phishing.

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Recently, dozens of applications have been submitted by Broome County residents to the Broome County Department of Social Services, where benefits were stolen because of Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) skimming.

A skimmer device is placed on top of a retail store's card reading machine, allowing the skimmer to copy the card and personal identification, referred commonly as a PIN by EBT cardholders.

That allows the scammers access to the Electronic Benefits Transfer account which in turn allows them to spend the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and Temporary Assistance cash benefits.

If this happens, the Broome County Department of Social Services has tips to protect your benefits:

  • Change your PIN (personal information number) immediately
  • Change your Pin frequently
  • Protect your EBT card and PIN information
  • Monitor your EBT account regularly for any unusual or unauthorized transactions

The Broome County Department of Social Services notes that if you suspect your benefits have been stolen, call the Broome County Case Integrity Unit at 607-778-2519.

Phishing Scams

The New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance notes that Phishing Scams appear as official and legitimate emails, text messages, or phone calls that try to get you to disclose information about you or your EBT card. Thieves can use this information to access your account and spend your SNAP and cash benefits.

For more information and what to look for in a skimmer. check out the video below.

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