ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – New Mexico is warning that some Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants may be victims of recent fraud schemes. Officials are urging Albuquerque customers to check their SNAP balance.
“It’s appalling that anyone would steal food benefits from the most vulnerable New Mexicans,” Kari Armijo, the acting cabinet secretary for the New Mexico Human Services Department, said in a press release. “We urge all SNAP customers to monitor their account, change their account PIN regularly and closely examine checkout card readers.”
The Human Services Department (HSD) says a card skimmer was found at Jerry’s Market (7553 Isleta SW in Albuquerque, NM). They say some SNAP customers used their EBT cards at the register this skimmer was on.
“”You’re going to insert that card into the point-of-sale machine, you’re going to enter your PIN number to authorize that sale,” said Karmela Martinez, Director of the Income Support Division of the New Mexico Human Services Department. “Those skimmers record that information. From there, they’re able to maybe purchase online, they’re able to reproduce a card and sell the card with your information and PIN number.”
Jerry’s Market in Albuquerque’s South Valley is the most recent store to be targeted by this scam. The state says a skimmer was placed in one of their card readers late June and was found 12 days later in early July.
Last month, the Los Lunas Smiths’ was the victim of a similar skimmer, resulting in thousands in benefits for needy families being stolen.
“Unfortunately, it is a profitable business, and it’s really, really unfortunate that they are targeting the most vulnerable population of these people who really, critically need this EBT service,” explained Martinez.
Skimmers can take information from cards during purchases. HSD says Albuquerque SNAP users should check their accounts and report any discrepancies. You can report at a field office, online at this link, or by calling 1-800-283-4465. You should also report any fraud to law enforcement, HSD says.
The department says stolen funds dating back to October 2022 can be replaced. To qualify for replacement, SNAP customers must report the suspected theft of their benefits to HSD within 30 days.
In July the Human Services Department also reported hundreds of Los Lunas SNAP benefit participants were victims of EBT fraud. The department says a skimmer was found at the Smiths on June 22 at a self-service kiosk on May 25. All 488 victims had their EBT cards skimmed at this kiosk.
HSD also offers these tips to protect SNAP benefits:
- Protect your EBT card. Keep it in a safe place and don’t write your PIN on your card or card sleeve. Never share your card or PIN with others.
- Review your purchases and check your EBT card balance frequently by calling Fidelity Information Services (FIS), www.ebtEDGE.com or on the ebtEDGE mobile app.
- Reset your PIN often by calling Fidelity Information Services (FIS) 1-800-843-8303 or on the ebtEDGE mobile app. It is recommended that you change it at least once a month.
- Avoid setting common card pin numbers.
- Freeze, unfreeze and request a new card by calling Fidelity Information Services (FIS) or on the ebtEDGE mobile app.
- HSD or FIS will never reach out by phone, text or email to ask for your card number or PIN.
- If you see suspicious activity or see something unusual at a card reader, report it to the retailer immediately.
- When you’re at a store always look at the card reader before swiping your EBT card to see if anything looks unusual. Parts can be added to the readers that steal your information.
- Review information about skimming on the FBI web page. Skimming is the term used to describe devices being put on card readers to steal your information.