Protect Your EBT and SNAP from Scams and Skimming

Worcester and surrounding towns are seeing a large increase in reported theft of SNAP and Cash benefits from EBT cards through skimming and phishing scams. DTA recommends several actions to help protect yourself from EBT theft. 

Were your EBT/SNAP benefits stolen from your card? You can request replacement of the full amount stolen, but you must file a claim with the DTA Fraud Unit. There are several ways to do it.

  • Fill out the online claim form. Use the QR Code to go directly to the claim form.
  •  Call the fraud line at 833-602-9247.
  •  Print and fill out the claim form, then submit it to DTA
    • by mail:  DTA Document ProcessingCenter: P.O. Box 4406, Taunton, MA 02780
    • fax: 617-887-8765
    • Upload to DTAConnect.
    • Scan at your local DTA office

Infographic explaining how to submit a claim for stolen benefits to Mass DTA, including a QR code that goes directly to the online benefits claim form

What Are Phishing and Skimming?

Skimming happens when thieves attach a small device to an ATM or a store’s card-swiping machine. The devices are small and hard to detect. When you swipe or insert your card, the device collects the information from your card. The thieves can then use your EBT account without your permission.

Phishing is when someone tricks you into giving them your PIN or other information they need to access your account. Someone may call, email, or text you and pretend they’re from the DTA. They may ask you for your PIN, account login, Social Security number, or other information they can use to access your benefits without your permission. DTA workers will never ask you for your PIN, EBT card number, or DTAConnect login. If someone asks you for it, hang up and call the DTA Fraud Line to report it and check.

What to Do If You're Missing Money or SNAP from Your EBT Card

If you are missing SNAP benefits from your EBT card:

  • Report stolen SNAP to DTA in one of these ways.
    • Fill out the DTA claim form online.
    • Call the Fraud Line at 833-602-9247 or the DTA Assistance Line at (877) 382-2363
    • Download the Claim for Replacement Benefits Form form and mail the completed form to:
      • DTAConnect upload​​​
      • Mail to:
        DTA Program Integrity
        Fraud Investigation Unit
        P.O. Box 4411
        Taunton, MA 02780-0435
      • Fax to the Fraud Investigation Unit at: (617) 348-5479
      • Bring it in person at a local DTA office.

Learn more about how to get your stolen benefits replaced.

  • Change Your PIN immediately
    • If you can, change your PIN after each time you use your card.
  • Please consider sharing your story with Mass Law Reform Institute through this stolen SNAP benefits story collection form. By sharing your experience, you can help them work for better card security and replacement policies. They will not share any information you give them without your permission.
  • Consider alerting the stores where you last used your EBT card before noticing the loss. It may help them prevent others from having their benefits stolen.
  • If you feel safe doing so, consider filing a report with the local police.

Steps to Protect Your SNAP and EBT Benefits

  • Change your PIN frequently. You should change it before you get your benefits each month. It’s also helpful to change your PIN after each time you swipe your EBT card.
  • Learn what to look for before sliding your EBT card. If the machine looks different in any way, alert the store staff and use a different EBT machine.
  • Avoid self-checkout if you can. Self checkouts aren’t watched as carefully as manned checkout lines, making it easier for thieves to attach a skimmer.
  • Check your EBT balance frequently. If you notice any money missing, report it immediately to DTA via the Connect app or by calling your worker. Learn more about what to do if your SNAP or cash is stolen at Mass Legal Aid
  • DTA workers will NEVER ask for your PIN. Always use the Customer Service phone number on your card to communicate with DTA. If someone calls you claiming to be from DTA, tell them you’ll call back on the customer service line. Do not give your PIN over the phone to anyone.

How to Change Your PIN

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  1. Call the number on your EBT card: 800-997-2555.
  2. Choose your language.
  3. Enter the number on the front of your EBT card.
  4. Press 2.
  5. Enter the last 4 digits of your Social Security Number. If you do not have an SSN, enter the last 4 digits of your number assigned by DTA.
  6. Enter your Date of Birth (month/day/year(
  7. Enter your new 4-digit PIN; then enter it again.

How Do Thieves Get My Information?

You should always let the store know that you’re missing money from your EBT card after you shopped at their store. It helps them take steps to find any devices attached to their machines, and cooperate with local police to track down the thieves.

The USDA (who run the SNAP program for the whole country) sent out this notice to stores that take SNAP about things they can do to protect their customers.  It can can help you understand what happened and take more steps to protect yourself.

Protect SNAP Customers from Card Skimming
at Your Point-of-Sale (POS)

Important SNAP Reminder

What is a card skimmer?
    • Devices that criminals attach to point-of-sale (POS) machines/PIN pads to steal card numbers and other information from credit, debit, and EBT cards.
    • Criminals make card skimmers look like a normal part of a POS machine /PIN pad.
    • They are easy to place and hard to spot.
    • Criminals can attach card skimmers in less than one minute.
How does card-skimming effect SNAP customers?
    • Criminals use skimmed EBT card numbers and PINs to steal SNAP benefits from SNAP recipients.
    • For individuals and families who rely on SNAP benefits to meet their food needs, losing benefits can have a devastating impact.
What can you do to prevent card-skimming?
    • Inspect POS machines /PIN pads regularly (at least daily) to look for tampering.
      • Pull up on the top of the machine and pick the machine up multiple times every day to check for loose parts that don’t belong to the POS machine/PIN pad.
      • Put a sticker or other mark on your POS machines/PIN pads. If the sticker is damaged or you cannot see the mark, there might be a card skimmer covering it.
    • Use surveillance cameras to monitor the POS machine/PIN pad and cash register area.
      • Surveillance cameras can prevent criminal activity or record activity that can later be used in an investigation.
      • Immediately examine all POS machines/PIN pads if a surveillance camera has been moved, damaged, or blocked.
    • Do not place anything near your POS terminal/PIN pad. Criminals can hide tiny cameras in almost anything that is placed on your counter like charity boxes or boxes used to hold leaflets.
    • Do not allow unscheduled service visits. Always check with your POS machine/PIN pad provider before allowing anyone access to it.
    • Train employees to be aware of suspicious customer behavior.
Talk to your POS machine/PIN pad provider:

Ask about resources to help you prevent card-skimming in your store. Find out whether your POS equipment is the most secure option for your store or if it’s time to upgrade.

What should you do if you find a card skimmer or detect tampering?

Stop using the POS machine/PIN pad and immediately call:

    • Your local police.
    • Your POS equipment provider; and
    • The USDA Office of Inspector General Hotline at 1-800-424-9121.

If you have questions, please contact the Food and Nutrition Service, SNAP, at: