DES MOINES, IOWA (December 7, 2022) — The Iowa Attorney General’s office and the Iowa Department of Health and Human Services warn Iowans to be on the lookout for spam text messages regarding EBT cards.

EBT cards are used to distribute government benefits like food assistance, known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or food stamps.

Both agencies have recently received reports from Iowans of text messages that indicate their EBT cards are locked. The message includes a phone number to call for assistance. Iowa HHS did not send these messages.

Iowans should never share their card number or PIN number with anyone. Government agencies will never request your personal information, EBT card number, or PIN by text message.

This scam is particularly serious because those who receive benefits rely on these funds to feed their families. However, benefits lost due to fraudulent or scam activity cannot be replaced. If you are the victim of an EBT scam, you should file a report with your local law enforcement agency.

Scammers send messages to thousands of random phone numbers at a time. There is no indication EBT or SNAP households are being targeted directly.

If you received a spam text message regarding a locked EBT card, please file a report with the Federal Trade Commission.

The AG’s Consumer Protection Division provides the following tips for Iowans regarding spam text messages:

  • Do not reply or click on links to any unsolicited messages;
  • Don’t respond to spam text messages, even to ask the sender to stop contacting you. Responding verifies that your phone number is active and that you are willing to open messages, which may lead to an increase in the unsolicited text messages you receive;
  • Immediately delete text messages that ask you to confirm or provide personal information; and
  • If you think the message might be real, contact the company using a phone number or website you know is real. Not the information in the text message.

The Federal Trade Commission provide additional tips on spotting and reporting spam text messages. Read them here.

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