HIGH POINT, N.C. (WGHP) — Victims are sharing their experiences after scammers changed their lives with a single swipe.
There have been over 800 reports filed in the Piedmont Triad of card skimmers stealing funds off of people’s EBT cards. Most of the cases are in Guilford, Randolph and Yadkin Counties. Nearly a dozen were reported in January, linked to two Walmart stores in High Point.
Emily Deaton lost nearly $800 after a trip to the Walmart on North Main Street in High Point, after going to buy party supplies for her two-year-old son’s birthday.
“They had said I had six dollars left and I had almost 800 dollars in food stamps the day before,” she said.
The Deatons are one of at least 600 households that have reported card skimming to the state EBT call center. On average, people are losing upwards of $500 dollars in food benefits.
We added up the losses found in 11 reports just from High Point since the first of the year… and came up with over $4000 taken from victims.
“I don’t see how they sleep at night there has to be a better way for people to make a living.”
Emily Deaton is the mother of four and has to wait until Feb. 15 for her benefits to be refilled. Another victim said they lost over $500 at the South Main Street Walmart in mid-January, leaving only $11 for necessities for his wife and two toddlers, forcing them to make sacrifices to get through the month.
For these families, being robbed at the register is difficult, but the thought of it happening to other families is just as bad.
“I’m very upset, I’m very angry. I’m gonna pray for him. I don’t want to see this happen to anyone, let alone someone like me who has kids.”
It’s even more difficult because the USDA does not have a replacement procedure for stolen benefits. People may never see the money they lost. However, the NCDHHS is working with the USDA to get federal approval to reimburse stolen funds as quickly as they can.
People who used their cards at those High Point Walmart locations, or believe they have been the victim of a card skimmer at another location, can call the number on the back of their EBT card.
If there’s fraudulent activity on your EBT card, request a replacement by calling a local Department of Social Services office or call (336) 641-3000 and contact your local police department.
Officials also recommend people create an EBT EDGE account so they can place a block on out-of-state and online transactions, which can help prevent fraudulent activity.