Scam warning: the text scam you need to look out for if you receive EBT benefits

Officials say a new text scam is floating around and targeting people who receive EBT benefits.

The text message reads, “Your Pennsylvania access card is blocked,” and directs you to call the number listed; it looks legitimate. Officials say once a recipient calls that number, they will be directed to scammers looking to steal their information and SNAP benefit funds.

“That is a scam,” said Brandon Cwalina, the press secretary for the Department of Human Services.

On Friday, we made a phone call to the Department of Human Services and showed them the text message that some of our viewers received. Immediately, they instructed us not to call the number or click the link.

“DHS does not send a text like this. Our messages come from one specific number,” Cwalina said.

That number is 1-833-648-1964. The department said if a message comes from any other number, it is a scam.

Typically the scammers are after SNAP benefits that are used to buy groceries and other essential household items. Once they have that info, they can steal those benefits directly from the card.

“They want your information, they want your card number so they can take the benefits that are rightfully yours,” Cwalina, said.

Cwalina, added, DHS text messages will never ask for your information and said, “DHS text messages will never include specific details about your benefits.”

DHS also suggested that when in doubt always look and see if the link in the message is directed to a .gov or .org site.

And if really unsure DHS said they can always be reached on their fraud tip line. That number is: 1-844-DHS-TIPS (347-8477).

Below is a list of legitimate text messages that DHS may send:

  • Is your contact information up to date with DHS? Don’t miss important info about your benefits. Update your information at dhs.pa.gov/COMPASS.
  • Your Medical Assistance and/or CHIP renewal is due. Your health care coverage matters. Complete your renewal now at dhs.pa.gov/COMPASS or by phone.
  • Your renewal packet has been mailed to you. Please be aware that the renewal packet will take several days to arrive in the mail. Please note that you can use a computer to log in to your MyCOMPASS account and complete your renewal today.
  • Your renewal is due in 5 days. Please use a computer to log in to your MyCOMPASS account to complete your renewal today. You can also complete your renewal packet and mail it back to your CAO with the provided pre-paid envelope.
  • We strongly encourage Medicaid recipients to sign up for legitimate text and email communications through DHS so they can receive timely updates about their renewal and other benefits.

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