DHS warns FoodShare members of recent text message scam
MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) is investigating a scam targeting people who rely on FoodShare benefits.
FoodShare members affected by the scam reported text messages telling them to call a phone number and confirm personal information to avoid losing their benefits. Officials said that scammers use the private information to steal benefits.
DHS Inspector General Anthony Baize said it is alarming that people who rely on FoodShare benefits to feed themselves and their families are at risk.
“We encourage FoodShare members to understand how to protect their benefits from these increasingly sophisticated scams and to report them when they happen,” Baize said.
DHS is working with impacted members and replacing their benefits, including all compromised QUEST cards, if necessary. Unauthorized phone numbers related to the scam are being removed by DHS, according to officials.
DHS officials are recommending FoodShare members keep the following tips in mind to avoid becoming victims to the scam (DHS’ language):
- Monitor account balances on the MyACCESS mobile app or ebtEDGE website or mobile app.
- Add or change optional account passwords to limit unauthorized access.
- Do not share account passwords and PINs with anyone who is not part of your household.
- Create unique account passwords and PINs.
- Avoid using email addresses and the names of family members and pets for passwords.
- Avoid using your birth date and year, as well as repeating numbers, such as 1111, numbers in a row, like 2345, and numbers that follow a pattern, like 1212, for PINs.
- Temporarily freeze QUEST cards between uses by using the ebtEDGE website or mobile app. When members need to purchase food, they will need to unfreeze their cards using the ebtEDGE website or mobile app. This helps prevent unauthorized benefit use.
- Block out-of-state and online purchases. Members can turn off this feature before traveling out of state or shopping for groceries online.
- Confirm that an email or text about your FoodShare benefits is from DHS, not a scammer. DHS sends official FoodShare texts from 94347 (WI DHS) and emails from firstname.lastname@example.org. DHS FoodShare texts and emails never ask members for personal information, such as a birthday or Social Security number, or financial information, like a bank account or credit card number. DHS does not offer prizes or money to members for responding to these texts and emails.
FoodShare members are encouraged to reach out to QUEST Card Services to check their card balance, change PINs, report lost or stolen cards and to report unusual account activity. Members who receive emails or texts about their FoodShare benefits that are not sent by DHS should report the scam to their local FoodShare enrollment agency as well as Wisconsin’s Consumer Protection Hotline at 800-422-7128 or DATCPHotline@wi.gov.
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