Thieves Are Stealing Millions In California Food Stamp Dollars Every Month. Here’s How 

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Lorenzo Prieto Contributor
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Millions of dollars are stolen from Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards every month in California due to a lack of basic security features, leaving low-income recipients without funds and unable to pay for their groceries, CalMatters reported Monday.

California offers food aid to 2.8 million families a year through the service, according to CalMatters. The cards are vulnerable to theft due to a lack of security chips, which prevent thieves from utilizing “skimming” devices to copy card numbers and illegally withdraw funds. (RELATED: Group Founded By Gavin Newsom’s Wife Teaches Kids About Gender Roles With Images From Pornhub)

The state has reported $29.7 million in cash welfare and nearly $5 million in food aid stolen from low-income residents since July 2021, according to the outlet. Last June, California implemented three-digit ‘CVV’ codes for the cards, yet theft continues to rise.

In order to address the surging thefts, California has proposed to spend $50 million in 2024 to bolster the cards’ security features. The situation is now a state and national concern, with numerous cases of thefts that left many low-income families without cash and food benefits, according to CalMatters.

A construction worker pushes his wheelbarrow past a homeless man sleeping on a Hollywood sidewalk on January 20, 2023 in Hollywood, California. - Los Angeles County earlier this month declared a state of emergency over the region's homelessness crisis after decades of increasing numbers of people seen living on the streets.

A construction worker pushes his wheelbarrow past a homeless man sleeping on a Hollywood sidewalk on January 20, 2023 in Hollywood, California.  (Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)

The California Department of Social Services estimates $8 million in monthly EBT card theft for the next fiscal year, up from $6 million, as reported by CalMatters. Without proper security features, scammers can easily install hidden cameras to retrieve PIN numbers, according to the department.

In all this, taxpayers are the ones to pay back all the victims’ reimbursements for theft, according to CalMatters. In December, a congressional spending bill was passed that allowed for theft victims to seek reimbursement through federal funds.

California plans to help the victims by allowing them to reach out to the card company with less scrutiny so that the process to get the reimbursement and a new card become easier, according to CalMatters.

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