State offers tips to guard against card skimming, cloning

Published 2:56 pm Tuesday, July 25, 2023

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NCDHHS is aware of increasing reports regarding benefit theft by criminal actors through EBT (electronic benefits transfer) card skimming and cloning, as well as fraudulent transactions recently.

Card skimming is a method of obtaining personal data accomplished by attaching a device to point of sale machine (POS)/personal identification number (PIN) pad to steal card numbers and other information from credit, debit and EBT cards.

The card skimmers look like a normal part of a POS machine/PIN pad and can be easily attached to POS machines/PIN pads in less than one minute.

Card cloning is the copying of stolen EBT card information to new card. The skimmed EBT card numbers are used to steal benefits from FNS recipients and can be cloned onto other cards.

The NCDHHS recommends individuals using EBT cards take the following actions to keep their EBT card/account secure:

• Check your EBT account regularly for unauthorized charges. You can check your balance and/or replace a lost or stolen EBT card by visiting, using the EBT Edge mobile app or contacting the North Carolina EBT Call Center at 1-888-622-7328.

• Check card reading machines in stores to make sure there is nothing suspicious overlaid or attached to the card swiper.

• Contact law enforcement to report the stolen benefits.

• Call the EBT Call Center at 1-888-622-7328 to request a new EBT Card at no cost. Note: the new card will not contain funds that were stolen from the previous card.

• Select a “difficult” PIN (not 1234 or 4444). While this may not prevent card skimming, it is a recommended safety practice.

• If you suspect card skimming, freeze your EBT card so that fraudulent purchases cannot be made using your card.

• Change the PIN to the EBT card regularly using a new number each time.

• Block out-of-state and online purchases from their EBT Edge accounts or the mobile app.