© 2024 WSHU
NPR News & Classical Music
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
We are currently experiencing a streaming outage to Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa-powered devices. We are working to fix this issue. Thank you for your patience.

EBT theft in Connecticut has reached $2.5 million in 2024

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal
Molly Ingram
/
WSHU
U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal wants Congress to remove the cap on reimbursements for families whose SNAP benefits are stolen.

More than $2.5 million in SNAP benefits have been stolen from Connecticut residents this year, according to the state Department of Social Services.

Some people don’t know their information has been stolen until the first day of the month — when funds are deposited.

Commissioner Andrea Barton Reeves says one popular scam involves targeting EBT cards.

“Criminals are placing devices at retail locations that steal card and PIN numbers,” Barton Reeves said. “And even though those transactions may go through, those criminals still have the card number and the PIN. Then they wait until the first few days of the month, until the benefits are loaded, and they drain the accounts as soon as the benefits are deposited.”

The stolen funds can be reimbursed, but replacement benefits are limited to twice a year.

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal, who spoke alongside Barton Reeves at a press conference on Friday, wants Congress to remove the cap on reimbursements for families whose benefits are stolen.

“These con artists literally are taking food out of the mouths of babies,” Blumenthal said. “And those families need reimbursement, but the program for reimbursing them expires on September 30 of this year.”

Barton Reeves said theft has increased exponentially over the last two years.

“We have seen theft increase 1800% from the time the program began in January 2023, the pilot program, for a total of $2.7 million in benefits stolen,” Barton Reeves said. “For some perspective, it was around $132,000 in 2023. And as of Monday of this week, it has increased to $2.58 million in 2024.”

The Department of Social Services will never call EBT card users for their card number or PIN.

Molly is a reporter covering Connecticut. She also produces Long Story Short, a podcast exploring public policy issues across Connecticut.