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SNAP and cash EBT skimming now widespread in Eastern MA - Upcoming DTA action to deactivate PINs

The following information was shared by Mass Law Reform Institute about SNAP Skimming and DTA’s plan to deactivate the pins of EBT cards in the Boston, Quincy, and Brockton areas.


DTA has posted information on the following webpage: https://www.mass.gov/service-details/protect-your-benefits-from-skimming


To protect your benefits, change your EBT card PIN regularly (e.g., each time before you get your benefits). Call EBT Customer Service at (800) 997-2555 (the number on the back of your card) to change your PIN.


The extent of the problem is huge:

• To date - over $900K in SNAP EBT benefits have been thefted through skimming since mid June, and the rate of EBT skimming is apparently escalating daily.

• DTA cash assistance benefits are also being thefted, but at a lower amount (roughly $250K since April, often at ATMs), largely because far fewer households get DTA cash benefits.

• The bulk of illegal activity is in Eastern MA, notably DTA clients in Eastern MA serviced by the Quincy, Brockton and Boston DTA offices, which offices cover large geographical areas beyond the immediate city.

DTA is working closely with both USDA and law enforcement. They are urging all DTA clients to both be on the lookout for suspicious activity on their benefits and also to re-PIN their EBT cards after purchases. Unfortunately, due to restrictions in federal law, thefted SNAP benefits cannot be replaced, and further, EBT benefits do not have the same consumer protections as debit or credit cards.


The skimming problem has escalated to such severity that the week of August 22nd, DTA plans to deactivate the PINs of roughly 150K EBT households from those three large catchment areas (Brockton, Quincy and Boston) over a three day period. DTA is sending advance notice and texts alerting all households to the skimming crisis and urging households to change their current PINs as soon as possible.


Those households that do re-PIN their cards will not have their EBT PINs deactivated . DTA also has special outreach procedures in place for older adults, clients with heightened security on their cases (e.g. victims of domestic violence) and other vulnerable populations.

Nonetheless, expect confusion and fear as the PIN deactivation happens, especially at the checkout line as store customers realize their EBT cards do not work and/or realize their EBT benefits are gone. In terms of the latter, EBT customers who know in advance to check and re-PIN their EBT cards with a new PIN, and are able to do so, should be able to shop and access their food benefits. EBT customers who find that their benefits have been thefted are advised to report that to the DTA Fraud line (presumably to help with further criminal investigation).


DTA is planning to shift more DTA staff on the DTA Assistance Line to receive client calls, is in discussions with Conduent to ensure EBT clients get their questions answered, is installing more EBT pinning machines in their local offices for individuals who come into the local DTA offices for help (although EBT cards can be directly pinned through the Conduent line if individuals know how to do that). SNAP and cash households do not need to go to a local DTA office for a new EBT card, they basically need to rePIN their existing cards with a new (and different) PIN to unlock their benefits.


If customers are shopping and realize at the register that their benefits aren’t accessible, they can re-PIN their cards at stores immediately through the Conduent Customer Service line - and then complete their purchases.


Additionally, we expect that EBT clients who have lost their SNAP due to thefting may seek emergency food resources from area food banks.

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Mass Law Reform Institute compartió la siguiente información sobre SNAP Skimming y el plan de DTA para desactivar los pines de las tarjetas EBT en las áreas de Boston, Quincy y Brockton.


DTA ha publicado información en la siguiente página web: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/steps-to-re-pin-your-ebt-card#espa%C3%B1ol-


Para proteger sus beneficios, cambie el PIN de su tarjeta EBT periódicamente (por ejemplo, cada vez que reciba sus beneficios). Llame al Servicio de atención al cliente de EBT al (800) 997-2555 (el número que figura en el reverso de su tarjeta) para cambiar su PIN.


El problema del robo se ha intensificado a tal gravedad que la semana del 22 de agosto, el DTA planea desactivar los PIN de aproximadamente 150 000 hogares EBT de esas tres grandes áreas de captación (Brockton, Quincy y Boston) durante un período de tres días. El DTA está enviando avisos por adelantado y mensajes de texto alertando a todos los hogares sobre la crisis de robo e instando a los hogares a cambiar sus PIN actuales lo antes posible.


Aquellos hogares que vuelvan a poner el PIN de sus tarjetas no verán desactivados sus PIN de EBT. DTA también cuenta con procedimientos especiales de divulgación para adultos mayores, clientes con mayor seguridad en sus casos (por ejemplo, víctimas de violencia doméstica) y otras poblaciones vulnerables.

No obstante, espere confusión y miedo a medida que ocurra la desactivación del PIN, especialmente en la línea de pago, ya que los clientes de la tienda se dan cuenta de que sus tarjetas EBT no funcionan y/o se dan cuenta de que sus beneficios EBT se han ido. En términos de esto último, los clientes de EBT que saben con anticipación verificar y volver a PINear sus tarjetas EBT con un nuevo PIN, y pueden hacerlo, deberían poder comprar y acceder a sus beneficios de alimentos. Se recomienda a los clientes de EBT que descubran que sus beneficios han sido robados que lo informen a la línea de fraude del DTA (presumiblemente para ayudar con más delitos).

investigación).


DTA está planeando cambiar más personal de DTA en la Línea de asistencia de DTA para recibir llamadas de clientes, está en conversaciones con Conduent para garantizar que los clientes de EBT obtengan respuestas a sus preguntas, está instalando más máquinas de pines de EBT en sus oficinas locales para las personas que ingresan al DTA local oficinas para obtener ayuda (aunque las tarjetas EBT se pueden fijar directamente a través de la línea Conduent si las personas saben cómo hacerlo). Los hogares de SNAP y efectivo no necesitan ir a una oficina local de DTA para obtener una nueva tarjeta EBT, básicamente necesitan volver a PIN sus tarjetas existentes con un PIN nuevo (y diferente) para desbloquear sus beneficios.


Si los clientes están comprando y se dan cuenta en la caja registradora de que no se puede acceder a sus beneficios, pueden volver a PINear sus tarjetas en las tiendas de inmediato a través de la línea de Servicio al Cliente de Conduent, y luego completar sus compras.


Además, esperamos que los clientes de EBT que hayan perdido su SNAP debido a un robo puedan buscar recursos alimentarios de emergencia en los bancos de alimentos del área.

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