NCDHHS warns of potential EBT card scam
RALEIGH, N.C. (WECT) - The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services announced Thursday that it is aware of a potential scam targeting Food and Nutrition Services beneficiaries.
“Within the last four days, at least 650 Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards have been compromised statewide, and more than 7,000 cards have been identified as potentially compromised,” a NCDHHS new release states. “The suspected scammers appear to be targeting FNS beneficiaries by calling or texting them and asking for personal data and/or their PIN numbers, which are being used to steal money from the beneficiaries’ EBT cards.
“Out of an abundance of caution, the potentially compromised cards have been cancelled and replacement cards have been issued to beneficiaries of FNS.”
A spokesperson from New Hanover County said that the scam has not currently impacted any residents in the area. However at least ten people in Pender County have fallen victim to this latest scam, according to Wes Stewart, the social services director for Pender County.
Officials say it can take up to three to seven business days for FNS beneficiaries to receive their new EBT cards.
“Replacement benefits for stolen electronic benefits will be issued through a process that will launch on Monday, Aug. 28, 2023,” according to the news release. “FNS beneficiaries who had benefits stolen from their accounts will need to complete, sign and submit the Affidavit of Stolen Benefits, (DSS-8644): Affidavit For Stolen Benefits, to the county DSS agency in order to have their benefits reimbursed.
“If you receive email or texts from someone asking for EBT card information or your PIN, please do not respond. Neither county DSS offices nor NCDHHS will ever ask for this information using email or unsecure text message.”
The NCDHHS is recommending that households take the following steps to keep their EBT card/account secure:
- Check your EBT account regularly for unauthorized charges. You can check your balance and/or replace a lost or stolen EBT card by visiting www.ebtedge.com, using the EBT Edge mobile app or contacting the North Carolina EBT Call Center at 1-888-622-7328.
- Check card reading machines in stores to make sure there is nothing suspicious overlayed or attached to the card swiper.
- Contact law enforcement to report the stolen benefits.
- Call the EBT Call Center at 1-888-622-7328 to request a new EBT Card at no cost. Note: the new card will not contain funds that were stolen from the previous card.
- Select a “difficult” PIN (not 1234 or 4444). While this may not prevent card skimming, it is a recommended safety practice.
- If you suspect card skimming, freeze your EBT card so that fraudulent purchases cannot be made using your card.
- Change the PIN to the EBT card regularly using a new number each time.
- Block out-of-state and online purchases from their EBT Edge accounts or the mobile app.
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