(LITTLE ROCK, Ark.) — Arkansans who receive benefits through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) should take steps immediately to make sure their accounts are protected, the Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS) announced today.
DHS is aware of various scams circulating in Arkansas and around the country that aim to trick SNAP recipients into revealing the Personal Identification Number (PIN) that protects their account, or prey upon accounts using common PINs that can be easily guessed.
“SNAP recipients need to set a PIN that is known only to them and not commonly used,” said Mary Franklin, Director of the DHS Division of County Operations. “Avoid using easy-to-guess PINs such as 1-2-3-4 or all the same digit, like 0-0-0-0 or 1-1-1-1. These may seem handy to remember for the rightful recipient, but they also make it easy for thieves to access the account and drain the funds.”
DHS is encouraging SNAP recipients to protect their accounts by calling the Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) Customer Service line at 1-800-997-9999, following the prompts, and resetting their PIN to a combination that is known to them and no one else. Recipients should do this as soon as possible to ensure that their account is secure before new benefits are added to the cards, which typically occurs beginning around the 4th of each month.
DHS also recommends several other steps to secure SNAP accounts:
- Keep your PIN secret. Do not share your PIN with anyone outside your household. Cover the keypad when you enter your PIN on a machine.
- Check your EBT account regularly for unauthorized charges. If you notice any, change your PIN immediately to stop any further unauthorized purchases.
- Check card reading machines to make sure there’s nothing suspicious overlaid or attached to the card swiper or keypad. The overlays can be difficult to detect but are often bigger than the original machine and may hide parts of the machine.
- Never reveal your PIN to anyone. DHS will not reach out via email, social media message, or text to ask for a PIN.
If funds are stolen, there is no way for DHS to reimburse the recipient for the missing benefits. Recipients who believe they have been victimized should report the theft to law enforcement and also to DHS by calling 501-682-8849 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
SNAP provides food assistance to eligible households to supplement a household’s food budget, and benefits are distributed through an EBT card. SNAP benefits can be used to buy eligible food items to eat at home. Additional information about the program is available at humanservices.arkansas.gov/u/snap.