NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER) (Dec. 15, 2022) – Ohio Job and Family Services officials are trying to figure out who’s been stealing from unsuspecting food assistance recipients during what’s supposed to be the happiest time of the year.
Tuscarawas County JFS Director David Haverfield says EBT cardholders throughout the state and at least four locally had money skimmed from their accounts in recent weeks, although they don’t yet know how it’s happening or who’s responsible.
“We don’t know whether that’s happening somehow at the point of sale where someone has tampered with a machine or if it’s someone who’s maybe hacked into the system and is able to pull that money out of those accounts.”
The state agency is investigating but hasn’t established a process for reimbursing cardholders who had their benefits stolen. Haverfield says the thefts couldn’t have come at a worse time as families flock to the stores to pick up their holiday meal ingredients.
“We’d encourage them to get in touch with us because we can get them in touch with a food pantry or food vouchers or other things to help them. We have some folks who need help with food and we don’t want them to be going without this time of year for sure.”
JFS is urging food assistance recipients to closely monitor their accounts and report any suspicious activity by calling the number listed on the back of their cards.