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Scam & Fraud Alerts

Pennsylvanians who suspect welfare fraud should call 1-844-DHS-TIPS (1-844-347-8477)

Below are a list of potential threats, scams, and frauds targeting benefit recipients, of which we are currently aware. New scams are being hatched all the time, so here are a few general tips to keep you and your accounts safe:

  • Never give out personal or account information over the phone, in email, or via text messages. 
  • Benefits such as SNAP, should never be used without the offical EBT card present. 
  • If you have questions or believe your account has been compromised, immediately contact your local County Assistance Office.
    • If theft is believed to have occurred, the CAO will cancel your current EBT card and issue you a replacement EBT card. This is a preventative measure as just changing your PIN may not prevent future theft from occurring since the perpetrator still has your active card number. By sending a new card, it will cancel the previous card number as an extra layer of protection for your benefits
  • In general, it is a good idea to check your EBT balance and purchase history every few days to make sure there are no unexpected balance inquiries or purchases. We also recommend changing your PIN every two to three months.
  • Learn to recognize skimming devices.

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Currently Known Scams:

Targeting
ProgramDescriptionContactDate Posted
​General Public
EBT and ACCESS cards
​Text Messages claiming "EBT card is locked"
The scam message tells recipients to call a phone number or email an address with what appears to be a “pa.gov” email address to unlock the EBT card. 

For example, one scam message read: 
“Either call 1(888) 414-0029 with message ID# 82784 to unlock the account or email 21411@bovs[dot]pa.gov to unlock the EBT card.”
County Assistance Offices
​4/10/2024
​Medicaid Recipients
​Medicaid
Medicaid recipients are receiving text messages informing them that their PA HealthPlan application is due. Upon calling the telephone number in the text message, callers are told that they must pay $125 in fees and taxes by credit card or their benefits will be closed. 

​Your credit card company
​12/11/2023
Medicaid RecipientsMedicaid/CHIP Texts from  “Health Services,” “Health Solutions,” or “Innovative Partners”
Medical Assistance recipients are receiving text messages asking them to reply “Help” or to call 855-572-6401 to review their healthcare plans. Then they receive more text, emails, and phone calls claiming their policy was terminated due to COVID restrictions and they must pay to renew their Medicaid.

Phone numbers involved in potential scam: 
855-572-6201  -|-  863-222-9611  -|-  224-258-0570  -|-  833-369-2932  -|-  888-677-6074

Email addresses involved in potential scam: @innovativepartnerslp.com
County Assistance Offices

Read Press Release
10/04/2023
General Public and RetailersSNAP Mass Texts
Mass texts are being sent that indicate a food stamp payment is ready and asking the recipient to confirm their ID be selecting either of two links within the text.
County Assistance Offices04/27/2023
General PublicEBT and ACCESS cards Mass Texts
Mass texts are being sent that claim “your Pennsylvania Access Card is blocked” and providing a phone number to contact.
County Assistance Offices02/25/2023
General Public and RetailersEBT Cards Card Cloning
FNS received reports of people attempting to use photocopies of EBT cards at retailers and pressuing them to manually enter EBT card numbers.
County Assistance Offices09/27/2022
ElderlySNAP Phone Calls Requesting EBT Card Numbers
Elderly clients are receiving fraudulent calls and text messages claiming their SNAP benefits will be terminated and requesting the EBT card number to fix the issue. 
County Assistance Offices09/27/2022


What to do:

DHS has developed a process for reissuing benefits stolen via card skimming, fraud, or other electronic theft.  

This process allows for reissuance of benefits stolen from October 1, 2022, through September 30, 2024. Unfortunately, due to federal regulations, benefits stolen prior to October 1, 2022, cannot be reissued, even under the new process.

If you suspect you have been the victim of benefit theft of your Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, you will need to complete and submit a Benefit Theft Claim Form: PDF form or web form 

Please note, this form is only for SNAP theft and cannot be used for theft claims on any other benefit.

Once you have completed the Benefit Theft Claim Form, you should submit it to your County Assistance Office (CAO)

You can do this using COMPASS, either on your desktop or through the MyCOMPASS PA mobile app or by printing the PDF form and mailing it or dropping it off in person at your local CAO.

You can also complete and submit the form through this webform.

Once the form is submitted, it will be routed to a review team that will review the claim to determine if it appears to be a legitimate case of electronic benefit theft. If the team determines the theft claim appears legitimate, they will notify the CAO, who will reissue the benefits and will send you a notice informing you the benefit reissuance was approved and how much. If your claim is denied, a rejection notice will be sent specifying why your claim was denied. Your claim could be denied for the following reasons:

  • The review team determined there is insufficient evidence to support the claim that the benefits were stolen via skimming, cloning or other fraudulent methods.
  • You have already received two separate replacements in the current federal fiscal year.
  • The benefits were stolen outside of the time period for which replacement of stolen benefits is allowed.
  • You submitted your claim outside of the allowable time limits to file a claim.
  • Your household gave your EBT card and Personal Identification Number (PIN) to someone other than an immediate household member or authorized representative who then stole the benefits.
  • Your household failed to provide the necessary information for DHS to validate the theft occurred and whether the benefits are reimbursable.

Please note, there are certain rules for the reissuance process.

  • You must report the theft within 60 days of when the theft occurred. If the theft occurred before the reissuance process begins, you will have 60 days from when the process starts in June to submit the claim.
  • You must submit a claim form within 30 calendar days of reporting the theft to your CAO or the benefits cannot be replaced.
  • You can only receive up to two replacements in a federal fiscal year. Each replacement will be for the amount stolen or two months' worth of your household's SNAP benefit amount, whichever is less. The federal fiscal year is the period from October 1 through September 30. For example, if your monthly SNAP benefit is $150 and you submit a the first claim for $450 in stolen benefits, and a second claim in the same federal fiscal year for $250 in stolen benefits, the maximum that can be reissued is $300 for the first claim and $250 for the second claim. Once the next federal fiscal year begins on October 1, you will be eligible for an additional two replacements, should additional theft occur.
  • Only benefits stolen through card skimming, card cloning, and similar electronic fraudulent methods can be replaced. If your household gave your EBT card and PIN to someone, if your household lost your EBT card, or if the EBT card was stolen and your SNAP benefits were stolen, they cannot be reissued. If your benefits were stolen because the card was physically taken or lost, you will have to file a police report and pursue restitution against the perpetrator through civil court.
  • Only benefits stolen between October 1, 2022 through September 30, 2024 are eligible for reissuance. Any benefits stolen prior to October 1, 2022 or stolen after September 30, 2024, are not eligible to be reissued, unless additional permissions are granted through Congressional legislation.
  • While DHS encourages victims of benefit theft to report this to your local law enforcement so that they can investigate and pursue potential charges against whoever stole the benefit, this is not a requirement to receive benefit reissuance.




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