News10NBC Investigates: 2,000+ local victims of recent SNAP benefit scams

1,500-plus local victims of recent SNAP benefit scams

The News10NBC Team details breaking News, Traffic and Weather.

As you prepare to make that big Thanksgiving meal, imagine getting up to the checkout line, swiping your card and being declined. It continues to happen to families on SNAP, as scammers rip off their benefits.  Nearly 1,200 people in Monroe County alone had their benefits stolen last month and at least another 300 in November. 

Nanette Kaples relies on SNAP benefits to make ends meet. She gets them on the 9th of every month.  On this 10th of this month, she went to do some shopping. “I was at the store, I went to swipe my card to buy something and they told me it was insufficient funds and I’m like, well, that can’t be right,” she recalls. 

Kaples checked her app and saw all of her benefits were gone, stolen by a scammer in Chicago.

“They took $182.16 out of my food stamps, the day it went into my account,” she tells News10NBC.  She’s now relying on her back-up stash of soup, bread and peanut butter. She’s not the only one in her Gates apartment complex that’s been hit: “It’s four people, three in just this building alone were hacked,” she says.

Edward Mason called the Monroe County Department of Human Services as soon as he realized his benefits had been stolen, but he didn’t get very far. “You stay on the phone for 2 ½  hours, listening to elevator music,” he says. “I never connected with anyone.”

So both Mason and Kaples went down to the Department of Human Services in person. “She said, here’s some paperwork, fill it out … my name, my address, what happened, where it was stolen, what time,” recalls Kaples. “I did all that and she goes, we’ll contact you by mail …  I said, well I have no money, what am I supposed to do between now and whenever it gets reloaded again,’ ’cause I have to have a new card and she said, well, we’ll contact you by mail.”

Kaples still hasn’t heard anything. “It’s the week of Thanksgiving and just before Christmas, so I’m here in limbo with nothing,” she says.

A spokeswoman for Monroe County tells News10NBC that members of the county’s Human Services team worked significant overtime throughout October to resolve nearly 1,200 cases of benefit theft.  So far, in November, 300 additional people have reported their benefits stolen. 

To receive replacement benefits, individuals must request replacement benefits by filling out and submitting the LDS-5215 application – you can’t do that over the phone. It can be downloaded on the county’s website ( then dropped off at either the St. Paul or Westfall Road DHS locations.  Or, it can be submitted by mail, email or fax. Copies of the form are also available at St Paul and Westfall.

Stolen cards should also be reported to EBT Customer Service at 888-328-6399, or through the connectEBT mobile app – but this does not initiate the process to receive replacement benefits; that requires the application.

The county also recommends that anyone who has an EBT card frequently changes their PIN, closely monitors transactions on the card and immediately seeks a replacement card and PIN if the account appears compromised.

They’ve also created a 24/7 Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) hotline individuals can call to check their application or case status, report income or address changes and request a replacement benefit card. The new hotline, the county says, will free up staff to allow for more direct communication and to better provide services to assist families in need.  The number is: 585-753-2740.