USDA, Virginia Cracking Down on Food Stamp Fraud

By: Carly Stephenson Email
By: Carly Stephenson Email

HARRISONBURG, Va. -- Social Services is cracking down on food stamp fraud. A new partnership between the USDA and Virginia and Maryland was announced Wednesday to help strengthen the fight against fraud.

Locally, Social Service employees have an online system that shows them where people purchase their groceries.

They are also able to compare records with retailers, if there's something that doesn't seem right.

Lyn Wright with Social Services said because everything is moving to electronic there are more ways things can be handled inappropriately.

Some merchants have video and they have records that can be compared with records at the Social Services office.

When the alleged fraud hits a certain level they take it to the Commonwealth's Attorney.

There have been incidences where people lose their EBT card to buy groceries. If it happens more than two or three times, they start monitoring the money.

Under the state partnership, Maryland and Virginia will share information with the USDA to develop other tools to detect fraud.

"Where they're seeing some trafficking that direction, people were posting the cards on e-bay which means they're giving the card out selling it out they have to give the PIN number that goes to it so someone else can purchase groceries," Wright said.

They think that could be a reason some people ask for multiple replacements.

Wright wants to stress that up front, they want to keep families out of trouble and they explain how to use all the benefits when they meet with them.

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