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NEW 6/17/2024Starting July 1, 2024, customers whose cash benefits were stolen through EBT card skimming or other similar, fraudulent activity can submit a claim to the Department of Social and Health Services to have some of those benefits replaced. Washington state passed a law that allows DSHS to replace Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, State Family Assistance, Refugee Cash Assistance, Aged, Blind or Disabled cash assistance and Pregnant Women Assistance benefits stolen July 1, 2024, or later. 

Customers who are the head of household and believe they are victims of cash-benefit theft, despite having their EBT card in their possession, may request to have these benefits replaced within 30 days of discovering the loss by:

  • Submitting a claim in person in a Community Services Office during business hours. 
  • Calling the Customer Service Contact Center at 877-501-2233.
  • Completing a signed “DSHS Claim of Stolen EBT Benefits” form (DSHS 27-221) and submitting it:
    • By mail to P.O. Box 11699, Tacoma, WA 98411.
    • By fax to 888-338-7140.
    • By drop box at a local DSHS office.
    • Through MyDocs email.

Home and Community Services customers who believe they might be victims of cash-benefit theft should contact their assigned public benefits specialist. Developmental Disabilities Administration customers should call 855–873–0642.

No retroactive replacements:
DSHS did not receive authorization or funding to replace cash benefits stolen before July 1, 2024. If customers already reported stolen cash benefits prior to July 1, 2024, no further action is needed. There will be no retroactive cash replacements.

Added Aug. 25, 2023: Congress passed a law that enables DSHS to replace some food benefits stolen through skimming, cloning or similar fraudulent activity. Customers who believe they are victims of food benefits theft should submit a claim to have some food benefits replaced. Complete a DSHS Claim of Stolen EBT Benefits form (DSHS 27-225) and learn more here. Customers who had food benefits stolen between Oct. 1, 2022 and Aug. 22, 2023, have until Oct. 22, 2023, to submit a claim. Otherwise, they must submit the claim within 30 days of discovering the loss.

EBT Card Skimming and Phishing Scams Are On The Rise – Protect Your Account Information
The Department of Social and Health Services is discouraged by scammers targeting debit, credit and EBT card users across the country, especially Washington residents who can least afford to lose vital access to healthy food. It’s devastating to experience this kind of loss at any time but especially during the holiday season and with prices for groceries and goods continuing to climb.

We are aware of cases where people’s EBT cards were accessed and benefits were stolen through skimming and phishing. We are grateful for the opportunity to talk about what we’re doing to combat this and what Washingtonians can to do protect their benefits.

DSHS is investigating with local and federal law enforcement partners, and developing systems to review our data to detect anomalies and red flags. Anyone using any kind of debit, credit or EBT card can be a target for skimming and phishing scams. Unlike credit cards or debit cards issued by financial institutions, EBT cards are not FDIC-insured/guaranteed. Federal and state rules prohibit the replacement of stolen benefits in most circumstances and for most programs, including SNAP/Basic Food benefits. When we detect anomalies and have not already been alerted by clients about potential fraud, we are reaching out to clients directly and suggesting they take steps to protect their accounts.

The best defense against fraud and theft is a good offense, so we urge all EBT card users to protect their account information:

  • Keep your EBT card PIN secret. Don’t share it with anyone outside your household. Be sure to cover the keypad when you enter your PIN on a machine.
  • Don’t share your EBT card number or PIN with anyone through phone or text. Phishing scams are rampant, especially through text messages.
  • Check your EBT account regularly for unauthorized charges. If you notice any, change your PIN immediately to stop any new purchases.
  • Check card-reading machines to make sure there’s nothing suspicious laid over the top or attached to the card swiper or keypad. Overlays can be hard to detect but are often bigger than the original machine and may hide parts of the machine.
  • Use features offered by Washington's EBT card vendor at ebtEDGE.com to freeze and unfreeze a card as well as block out-of-state and online transactions.

If anyone believes they may be the victim of fraud, immediately call the EBT Customer Service line at 888-328-9271 to report the card as compromised. By doing this, the card vendor can deactivate the card and send a new card. You can receive a replacement card in person at any DSHS Community Services Office from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Also, contact law enforcement if you believe you had your EBT benefits stolen, and report the theft to your local DSHS Community Services Office or call 877-501-2233.