BCHHS and USDA warn SNAP and FNS clients of possible scam attempt

Press release from Buncombe County Health and Human Services:

Buncombe County Health and Human Services (BCHHS) warns the community about a text messaging scam targeting Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Food Nutrition Services (FNS) clients. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently informed local SNAP offices of SNAP fraud attempts that seek to obtain personal information via text message. Personal information includes your social security number, bank information, or SNAP electronic benefits transfer card or PIN number. The text might say you have been chosen to receive food stamps or SNAP or that your FNS case is about to close.

BCHHS Economic Services Director, Phillip Hardin, reports that people are calling with concerns about their benefits. Locally, people are getting the following text message: “Your FNS case is about to close, click here to keep the case open” and then directs the recipient to click a link. We are also aware of a second scam attempt via text that reads: “You just qualified for foods stamps – get started here, it’s free.” Hardin says, “We have had numerous calls to our agency about this scam with people worried about their benefits being cancelled because they got this text message. We want to assure and remind our community that BCHHS would never text our clients about their benefits and we encourage those who are concerned about their benefits to call us if they have questions.”

If you receive a text and think it is a scam, do not reply at all and delete the message. If SNAP participants are unsure if a request for information is legitimate, the USDA advises they contact their local SNAP office. If you have questions about your SNAP or FNS benefits in Buncombe County, please call BCHHS at (828) 250-5500, Monday-Friday between the hours of 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

This is a serious reminder to never share personal information with individuals or organizations that you do not know. To stay on top of potential scams, please visit USDA’s SNAP scam alert webpage at https://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/scam-alerts. If you believe you are the victim of identity theft, call your local police department regarding procedures for filing a report. You may also file a consumer complaint online with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at https://www.ftc.gov. FTC is the federal agency responsible for protecting consumers from identity theft scams.

For more information on SNAP and FNS in Buncombe County, click here or call (828) 250-5500.  Article on County Center for sharing can be found here: https://www.buncombecounty.org/countycenter/news-detail.aspx?id=18907

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