Be wary of charges on your EBT card. Thieves are using this trick to steal your money

Skimming usually involves a device that a thief places anywhere a customer might use a credit or debit card to pay.

Skimming usually involves a device that a thief places anywhere a customer might use a credit or debit card to pay.


If you have an Electronic Benefit Transfer card, be mindful of any unusual charges to your account.

North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein explained thieves have recently been ramping up efforts to scam state residents through EBT card skimming and cloning.

“The skimming devices have been around frequently, but they are starting to especially go after people’s EBT benefits” Stein told The Charlotte Observer. “The fact of the matter is criminals will steal from anyone, even people who need food to feed their families.”

Stein issued a consumer alert, saying more people have been attaching devices to card readers that collect card numbers, PIN numbers, and EBT information. The card skimmers look like a normal part of a POS machine or PIN pad and can be easily attached in less than a minute. Stein explained this isn’t a new trend, but thieves have gotten more creative with their tactics.

“It [card skimming] has been around for a few years and the technology, of course, is getting better and better so that it becomes very hard to ever see it,” Stein explained. “That’s why it’s really important for people to regularly check their account balances to make sure that their information hasn’t been stolen and people are not charging for things in their name.”

Stein says there’s more than a billion dollars in losses to banks yearly due to the practice.

“The warning we’ve put out was particularly about EBT cards, but this advice really applies universally, whether you get EBTs or don’t.”

How to protect yourself from EBT card skimming

  • Check your account balance regularly. Be on the lookout for errors or charges you don’t recognize.

  • Before using any card reader, check for alignment issues that could be a card skimming device.

  • If you suspect EBT card skimming, report it, freeze your card immediately, and call the EBT Call Center at 1-888-622-7328 to request a new card.

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