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The food stamp program experiencing an unprecedented wave of fraud

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Posted at 5:23 PM, Jan 19, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-19 23:40:17-05

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The food stamp program is experiencing an unprecedented wave of fraud.  

The methods of stealing food stamps, or supplemental nutrition assistance program (SNAP) benefits, are evolving and its causing stress for people, like Brittany Bosquez, who depends on that money. 

“Whatever I get is for my kids. I wouldn’t take it from my kids. Whatever they want they get it,” Bosquez said.

Bosquez is working hard to feed her family of five. It worries her to lose those benefits to scammers. 

“Some stores you have to give them the PIN and it's kind of sketchy,” Bosquez said. “You get scared that they might keep your PIN and use it for themselves.”

Paul Eckloff, the Senior Director for LexisNexis Risk Solutions government group, tells us that can happen. Alsocard skimmers, a piece of hardware attached to a card reader, can be used to steal funds. 

Now, more people are finding their SNAP benefits gone when they show up at the register. 

“They traditionally use skimming and now they’ve moved onto phishing and SMS phishing from direct recipients,” Eckloff said. “They’re preying on the fear that a needy family will lose those benefits.”

SMS phishing is when you get a text threatening to freeze your account if you don’t respond with personal information. 

Eckloff said it a particularly devious crime, as one in nine Texans rely on the food stamp program.

“They are literally stealing food from children’s mouths. SNAP fraud is exactly what it’s doing,” he said. 

LexisNexis Risk Solutions recognizes the lack of protection from fraud, and they would like to see that change as more families apply for SNAP benefits. 

“For return on investment, in the 100’s of percentages. You can put identity verification, location verification,” Eckloff said. 

As food stamp cardholders continue to use their benefits, Eckloff advises to be on alert. , don't react to emails or texts and i you have questions, call the help line. 

For help or questions with your HHSC benefits case or YourTexasBenefits.com, call 2-1-1 or 1-877-541-7905. After you pick a language, press 2.

For help or questions about your Lone Star Card account, call 1-800-777-7328 (7EBT).