OIG takes aim at EBT skimmers with new information portal

The OIG has launched a new resource page for retailers and SNAP clients to help prevent and detect Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card skimming.

Card skimmers attach to the card readers used by retailers and steal information from the magnetic strip on a payment card without the cardholder's knowledge. The thieves use this information to create duplicate cards and make unauthorized purchases. Recently, skimming has become a growing concern for clients and retailers participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), prompting the OIG to develop resources to combat the problem.

The OIG's new SNAP Skimming Resources page includes various tools to help clients and retailers detect and prevent skimming. Clients can access resources to help them protect their EBT cards and detect skimming methods. Clients can also find tips on protecting their personal information and keeping their EBT cards secure, including reporting suspicious activity in their accounts. 

Retailers can access information about common skimming methods and how to identify and report skimming activities. They can also learn about best practices for protecting their customers’ EBT cards and defend card readers from being compromised. Retailers are also provided with posters and social media content that explains how skimming works and how to avoid it. 

Additional resources include a report on SNAP skimming in Texas that gives a history of the practice and emerging issues seen by investigators, the OIG Fraud Alert issued in September of 2022 and links to additional state and federal resources.

The OIG encourages retailers and clients to work together to stop skimming and protect SNAP's integrity to ensure program funding is used to provide food for hungry Texas families. 

If you believe your SNAP benefits have been stolen or that your EBT card (Lone Star card) has been compromised, immediately contact HHS Card Services at 800-777-7328 to cancel the card.