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What to do if EBT card is Stolen, Lost or if You get Unauthorized Charges

– What to do if EBT card is Stolen –

What to do if EBT card is stolen: Fraud doesn’t just revolve around money alone, hence, everyone should be careful. In this article, we will explain the steps you should take if your EBT card is lost, stolen or if you get unauthorized charges.


What to do if EBT card is Stolen

What is the Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT)?

Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) is an electronic system that allows a recipient to allow the transfer of their government benefits from a federal account to a retailer account to pay for products received.

EBT is used in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and Guam. EBT has been implemented in all states since June of 2004.

What’s EBT Card?

  • EBT = electronic benefits transfer.
  • EBT card = a card that looks and works like a debit or credit card but is loaded with food stamps and/or cash benefits. You can use it at stores that accept EBT.

Where can’t I use my EBT Card?

You cannot use your EBT Card at the following locations:

  • Casinos
  • Poker Rooms
  • Card Rooms
  • Smoke & Cannabis Shops
  • Adult Entertainment Businesses
  • Nightclubs/Saloons/Taverns
  • Tattoo & Piercing Shops
  • Spa/Massage Salons
  • Bingo Halls
  • Bail Bonds
  • Racetracks
  • Gun/Ammo Stores
  • Cruise Ships
  • Psychic Readers

Foods and Products Not Eligible for Purchase with the EBT Card

  • Hot foods from deli
  • Vitamins or medication
  • Pet food
  • Paper or cleaning products
  • Alcohol/tobacco products.

For a full list of approved food items, see the Food Stamps Eligible Food List here.

How to Use Your EBT Card

A household’s monthly Food Stamp benefits and Temporary Assistance (TA) benefits are loaded to an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card.

Households receiving Food Stamp benefits use their EBT cards to purchase food and food products, such as seeds and plants, to grow food.

Households receiving benefits use their EBT card at a cash register or an ATM machine to redeem the cash that may be used for the household’s children such as clothing, utilities, and other services.

How do I use and Access my Cash and SNAP benefits?

What to do if EBT card is Stolen

Cash and SNAP benefits recipients may access their cash and SNAP benefits at participating EBT locations anywhere within their State. Cash benefits may also be accessed at participating ATM and allowed retail store locations.

Your EBT card and Personal Identification Number (PIN) are used at allowed retail stores with your cash or SNAP benefits. Many retail stores also provide cash back with your purchase. Check with the store for their cashback policy.

  • Swipe the card.
  • Enter your PIN in the machine at the checkout line.
  • Only you should enter your PIN.
  • Always check and keep your receipts for your EBT purchases.

You can use your EBT card at:

  • Retail stores
  • Farmers’ Markets

What to do if your EBT card or PIN is lost or stolen or if you see unauthorized charges?

If your Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card is lost, stolen, or missing, you should immediately report the missing card by calling your State’s EBT Customer Service Number.  

An EBT Customer Service Representative will provide you the help that you need so that a new card can be issued.

If you have an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card for needs-tested benefits provided or administrated by a state or local government, you do not have guaranteed protections under Federal law against loss or theft of your card or funds.

Such benefits include Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, previously called “food stamps,” Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), and Women, Infant, and Children (WIC) benefits. You should call Customer Service and report the loss or wrong charge right away to help to stop future thefts from your account.  You should be able to find the customer service number on the back of your card, or on the program’s website.

Security & Care Tips for Your Card

  • Do not throw your card away
  • Keep your card clean
  • Keep the magnetic stripe on the back of your card free from scratches
  • Do not bend or fold your card
  • Use caution if allowing others to use your EBT card to purchase food for you. Benefits misused by someone you know, will not be replaced.
  • Keep the card away from magnets, TVs, stereos, or microwaves
  • Keep your card out of direct sunlight
  • Store your card in a safe place

Security & Care Tips for Your PIN

Protect your PIN:

  • Keep your PIN a secret
  • Memorize your PIN
  • Do not write your PIN on your card
  • Do not let anyone see your PIN as you enter it at the terminal, even a store cashier

If someone knows your PIN and uses your card, your benefits will not be replaced. If you think that someone knows your PIN, change your PIN by calling Customer Service

Can someone use my EBT card for me?

Can anyone in my household use my SNAP EBT card? Yes, you can designate someone (an authorized representative) you trust who is not a member of your Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) household to use your card on your behalf.

How can I get another SNAP EBT card?

States have the option of providing multiple cards to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) households with multiple people.  

In some cases, you may be charged for additional cards.  To find out if your State issues additional Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards, call your State’s EBT Customer Service Number.

When will my SNAP EBT card arrive?

When will my SNAP EBT card arrive?

If you have just been certified to receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits receive your Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card and benefits within 30 days from the date you filed your application.

If your income was very low and you qualified for expedited benefits, then your benefits should be in the account within 7 days from the date you applied.  You will need to contact your caseworker at the local office that processed your SNAP application to find out when your card should arrive.

Your State may also provide this information through its State’s EBT Customer Service Number.  When you call, an EBT Customer Service Representative should be available to help you.

We hope this article has been helpful to you. Please share it with anyone you think will appreciate the information and kindly drop your comment below.

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