OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR)- As card skimming scams continue to cripple Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) customers nationwide by draining their accounts, Oklahoma Human Services is now recommending anyone with the benefits to change their pin numbers immediately.

The recommendation is for anyone who uses card-reading machines (Point-of-Sale devices) at grocery stores and other retail outlets and potentially affects any customer who uses a credit, debit or EBT card on a device that has been tampered with.

“Our office received started receiving complaints from individuals that were receiving SNAP benefits, showing that their cards were being used out of state. We have identified hundreds of victims whose cards have been cloned and all the benefits drained from their snap account[s],” said Michael Adams, special agent in charge of the investigation at the Oklahoma department of Human Services Office of the Inspector General.

Adams said the OIG is working with federal agencies to track the fraudulent activity.

However, if a SNAP EBT card is skimmed and cloned, the thief can potentially steal all of the benefits in the account that cannot be replaced because federal regulations under the United States Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service (USDA-FNS) won’t allow it.

In the meantime, SNAP customers affected by skimming are encouraged to contact their local police department or sheriff’s office to report the theft and contact Oklahoma Human Services Office of Inspector General (OIG) by calling (800) 784-5887 or emailing oigfraud@okdhs.org.

“We want everyone to check their account balance. And if they see things that look suspicious on there, that could be an indication that their card has already been compromised,” Adams added.

“If they’re seeing balance inquiries that they did not make, we would ask that they call and report that card stolen, which will cancel the card and then they can be issued a new card [with] a new pin,” he continued.  

Oklahoma Human Services also encourages cardholders to avoid keeping large SNAP EBT account balances. These benefits cannot be replaced. The United States Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service (USDA-FNS) prohibits replacing stolen SNAP benefits using federal funds.

Here are the steps to change a SNAP card PIN via telephone number:

  • Cardholder calls 1-888-328-6551, Choose 1 for English or 2 for Spanish
  • Choose 1 for SNAP
  • It asks for the 16-digit card number to find their account
  • If account already has a PIN, it will ask for that PIN
  • Main menu will give an option for changing the PIN (should be option 2)
  • If never PINned it will ask for the cardholder’s SS# to verify identity
  • It then asks for the cardholder’s DOB
  • Main menu will give an option for changing the PIN (should be option 2)

Cardholders can also go to the SNAP portal at www.connectEBT.com or use the mobile app, connectEBT.

After an account is created, cardholders can then log in and choose the option for changing their PIN.