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Recipients of electronically stolen SNAP benefits may have money replaced

Some Colorado recipients of state assistance who fell victim to card skimming, card cloning or other fraud may get that stolen money replaced by the state.
Credit: AP
File - A cart holding groceries is pushed through a supermarket in Bellflower, Calif., on Monday, Feb. 13, 2023.

DENVER — Some recipients of the state's assistance programs fell victim to thieves who were able to gain access to their accounts and electronically steal their benefits. Now, they may be able to get their money back. 

The Colorado Department of Human Services announced that some accounts of people who receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Adult Financial or Colorado Works benefits were accessed by thieves using card skimmers, card cloning or other methods. 

The announcement comes after new federal guidelines were passed by Congress in December. The state can now use federal funds to replace the stolen money.

Colorado Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) benefits that were electronically stolen after Oct. 1 may be eligible for replacement. 

The state said if a benefits cardholder believes their benefits were stolen between Oct. 1 and June 30, they have until Sept. 1 to report the fraud. If a cardholder believes their benefits were stolen after July 1, they will have 30 days to report the theft. 

“We are pleased that there is now an avenue for people to get benefits returned to them that were stolen via card skimming or cloning,” said Karla Maraccini, director of CDHS’s food and energy assistance division. “We urge anyone who feels they may be a victim of electronic theft to contact their county as soon as possible.”

The state's food and energy assistance division said only funds that were lost through electronic theft are eligible. The funds can't be replaced if the physical EBT card was lost or stolen, or if a card owner gave the card number or the PIN to someone and their benefits were stolen. 

More than $167,000 worth of stolen SNAP and other benefits have been returned to 255 people since the beginning of July, the department said. 

If cardholders suspect they fell victim to a third-party fraud or electronic theft, they should contact their local human services office for more information. To request replacement of stolen benefits, they must fill out the EBT stolen-benefits form (also available in Spanish) and return it to their local county human services office.



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