St. Lawrence County warns public about SNAP scam

SNAP scammers
Published: Jan. 26, 2023 at 3:47 PM EST
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CANTON, New York (WWNY) - St. Lawrence County is sounding the alarm after more than 2 dozen residents have fallen victim to a scam that’s stealing money intended to put food on the table.

The scammers target people who get government help to buy food. It’s called SNAP, short for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

When SNAP users buy food, they swipe their cards and put in a personal identification number. When PINs fall into the hands of a scammer, that information can be used to steal the benefits.

“If their benefits are stolen, the state right now does not have the ability because it is a theft, they have to report it to police and it’s not something that we can replace their benefits,” said Karen Caldon, St. Lawrence County Department of Social Services.

One way people are getting scammed is through text messages on their cell phones. It asks the SNAP user to verify the PIN connected to their account.

Another way is trickier for the consumer to spot. A scammer puts a skimming device on the card reader at the register. When the SNAP card is swiped, thieves get important information.

“It’s a very alarming scam that’s out there. There are certainly so many that target older adults, but in particular, taking food away from people - so very distressing that this kind of activity might be occurring,” said Andrea Montgomery, director, St. Lawrence County Office for the Aging.

Officials with DSS say at least 25 people have been scammed in the county.

If you think you’ve fallen victim or want more information, call DSS at 315-379-2145 or click here.