Watch CBS News

More victims come forward in card-skimming scheme targeting SNAP benefits meant for low-income families

Philadelphia area victims come forward in scheme targeting low-income families' SNAP benefits
Philadelphia area victims come forward in scheme targeting low-income families' SNAP benefits 02:07

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- More victims in the Philadelphia area are coming forward in a scam targeting low-income families. Money from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is vanishing from accounts.

"This is how we eat month to month," said Shawntay Broggins. 

Broggins is a single mother in Philadelphia, raising her 11-year-old daughter Kimiyah.

Broggins, on a fixed income, receives SNAP benefits to help her put food on the table. But now she's worried about her next meal.

"I woke up with a zero balance on my EBT card. What am I supposed to do," she said. 

Hundreds of dollars from her Electronic Benefits Transfer card (EBT) were gone in an instant.


Broggins said she never even used the card, but she said someone else did at stores in New York.

"I am not from New York. I never left my bed to go to New York," she said. "I'm trying to figure out how they went to four different stores at 9:18, in the same minute."

Broggins is one of many people who continue to call into our newsroom to tell us their benefits were stolen.

The state said it's working to get to the bottom of these reports, but right now they believe thieves are using skimming devices to steal the money. The state said it's happening in Philadelphia and southeastern Pennsylvania.

It also happened to Broggins' neighbor.

"I'm very worried," said Ada Hanible. 

Unlike Broggins, Hanible used her card once, but she said the next day more than $200 was gone. She said her account shows her card number was used in Ohio.

Both Hanible and Broggins believe it's an issue with the EBT system.

"It's a real government issue and we're being punished and I don't think we should be punished," she said.

They both went to their local welfare office for help but will have to file a claim to try and get the money back. It's a process that could take over a month, which is time they do not have. 

How to contact your county assistance office 

Brandon Cwalina, with the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services, said if you believe your benefits were stolen, you should call your local county assistance office to report the fraud and get your card replaced. A full list of Pennsylvania's county assistance offices is available at the link above.

If you are a victim or know a victim, we would like to hear from you. Email us at

FBI recommendations when using POS terminal

  • Inspect POS terminals, ATMs, and other card readers before using. Look for anything loose, crooked, damaged, or scratched. Don't use any card reader if you notice anything unusual. 
  • Pull at the edges of the keypad before entering your PIN. Then, cover the keypad when you enter your PIN to prevent cameras from recording your entry. 
  • Use ATMs in a well-lit, indoor location, which are less vulnerable targets. 
  • Be alert for skimming devices in tourist areas, which are popular targets. 
  • Use debit and credit cards with chip technology. In the U.S., there are fewer devices that steal chip data versus magnetic strip data. 
  • Avoid using your debit card when you have linked accounts. Use a credit card instead. 
  • Contact your financial institution if the ATM doesn't return your card after you end or cancel a transaction. 
View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.