BOSTON — The Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) has issued additional warnings to residents of skimming scams that have impacted some DTA clients. The agency and its investigations team became aware of banks and retailers who appear to have had their ATMs and card-processing terminals compromised. These scams are aimed at obtaining credit, debit, and electronic benefit transfer (EBT) card information and personal identification numbers (PINs). Skimming is the use of an electronic device to steal card information from a card reader and create a fake card, known as cloning, to steal money or benefits.
As a precaution, DTA strongly recommends that clients change the PIN on their EBT cards at this time and before each scheduled benefit issuance date. Clients do not need to receive a new card to safely access their benefits. The department has taken several pre-emptive steps to help protect clients’ benefits, including sending out multiple targeted text messages and creating a notice to inform clients and encourage them to re-PIN their card. The agency also created a webpage (click here) on skimming and how to protect benefits.
Clients who receive TAFDC or EAEDC cash benefits can have their benefits sent to a checking or savings account through direct deposit. Direct deposit is a safe and reliable method to receive benefits and protect against fraud. Residents can contact their case manager if they have a bank account and want to set up direct deposit.
There have also been reports of a phishing scam where individuals are receiving scam text messages that their pandemic EBT (P-EBT) benefits have been blocked. The message directs individuals to call a number where they are asked to provide their P-EBT card number. This message is not from DTA.
People should never provide their personal information or EBT/P-EBT card number over the phone to unidentified callers. If any DTA client believes they may have fallen victim to a skimming or phishing scam, they are encouraged to report it to DTA’s fraud hotline at (800) 372-8399.