MARYLAND, USA — With over $1 million worth of federal dollars stolen in Maryland this year, a congressman is stepping in to make sure victims of this form of fraud receive relief.
Many people across the state who receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, formally known as food stamps, have experienced them being stolen. In October, Prince George's County Police issued a warning about card skimmers at convenience stores across the county. They said that $700,000 worth of benefits have been stolen this year.
Through the help of Sen. Ben Kramer, (D) District 19, WUSA9 received the latest numbers from the Maryland Department of Human Services (MDH). Since January, there were 1,413 incidents of EBT fraud, a giant spike from the total last year when the number was just 137.
As of November 2, 2022, the total federal dollars reported as a loss since January is $1,056,651.22.
This is not just a local issue, federal officials have become aware of a growing nationwide problem targeting SNAP recipients. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued warnings over credit card skimming, card cloning and phishing scams to steal SNAP benefits and other financial assistance.
But even with this being a known issue among victims, federal regulations prohibit states from replacing SNAP benefits using federal funds, according to a statement from MDH.
And now, U.S. House Representative Dutch Ruppersberger (D) of Maryland has introduced a bill into Congress to rectify this for victims. On Nov. 16, Ruppersberger introduced bill H.R.9319 which will amend the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008. This action will provide for the reissuance to households supplemental nutrition assistance program benefits to replace benefits stolen by identity theft or typical skimming practices, and for other purposes.
The bill will need to pass through the House and Senate before heading to the president's desk to be signed into law.
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