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Security Breach Leaves Thousands Of Calif. Families Without Child Support Money

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) - Thousands of parents in California are suddenly without access to their child support money, just days before the big holiday.

"And I said: "Do you realize I have kids to feed bills to pay?'" said mom Lynne Booker.

Booker says she was told she might not get her money in time for Christmas. Nearly 5,000 moms and dads up and down the state could be affected.

A California Department of Child Support Services spokesperson says a suspected security breach happened at a store, and just as a safety measure, the company that issues child support debit cards deactivated nearly 5,000 of the cards. The company isn't giving CBS13 any details on the security breach.

"This is child support. This is income that I count on," said Booker.

But last Saturday, Booker was told in an automated call that she couldn't touch that money. She called the number left on her voicemail and was told not only was her child support debit card deactivated, but she may not get her new card for a week and a half.

"I had kids to get to school…I had no gas…no food. You worry about Christmas," she said.

Booker was far from alone. The Department of Child Support Services confirmed 4,800 parents also had their cards deactivated. The company that issues child support debit cards, EPPICard, told CBS13 it deactivated the cards after a security breach at a supermarket chain.

DCSS issued a statement saying in part, "EPPICard, notified us last Thursday. Certainly we were unhappy to get the news that EPPICards had been deactivated. We were pleased, however, that EPPIC took prompt security measures."

"When the mail would come and I'd wait for the card, it was just like I couldn't breathe," said Booker.

Fortunately for Booker, her card came on Thursday, but she had already pawned something of hers to care for her kids, including her two youngest who suffer a heart condition.

She says she's still left with a lot of questions and no answers.

"I want to know where this happened, how it happened and what's going to be done to prevent it," she said.

It's unclear if the parents who are affected live across the state or just in our area.

EPPICard didn't tell us what grocery chain had the security breach.

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