NY Elected Officials Pass Bill To Stop Food Stamps Skimming

Frum Queens Assemblyman Sam Berger introducing legislation to combat EBT fraud on March 26, 2024 in Albany NY

Food Stamp (EBT) skimming scams have increased recently in New York including the neighborhoods of Kew Gardens Hills, Williamsburg, Crown Heights, Boro Park and Flatbush. Hundreds of frum residents from each neighborhood are reporting that their EBT benefits have been fully emptied.

By FrumNews.com

In the past months, numerous skimming attacks have been launched against the frum communities of Williamsburg, Boro Park, Crown Heights, Flatbush and Kew Gardens Hills, Queens, As well in every neighborhood in New York City. These recent SNAP/EBT, Food Stamps and Credit Card skimming scheme have caught the attention of the Elected Officials, as hundreds, if not thousands of city residents have reported that their EBT/SNAP benefits have been completely emptied.

EBT skimming fraud happens silently and often without the victims’ knowledge. Scammers enter stores and place hidden skimming devices over the card-reading machines at legitimate retailers to copy card and PIN information directly.

However, a group of the legislature, led by Frum Assemblyman Sam Berger and Frum State Senator Simcha Felder, has worked in the background to create a bipartisan coalition to combat skimming attacks by introducing bills that (1) would make skimming attacks come with harsher penalties and (2) would force the State to upgrade the infrastructure behind EBT cards to make your benefits more secure.

One of the bills (A09269/S08662) the coalition introduced aims to prevent fraud by requiring EBT systems to allow benefit recipients to cancel and lock their food stamp cards when fraud is suspected or reported.

The bill was introduced to the Assembly by Assemblyman Sam Berger and co sponsored by Assemblymembers Simcha Eichenstein, Brian Cunningham, Ron Kim, Maritza Davila, Michaelle Solages, Jo Anne Simon, Alicia Hyndman, Deborah Glick, Lester Chang and Brian Maher. After passing the assembly in April, State Senator Simcha Felder introduced it to the Senate floor and it was co-sponsored by State Senators Luis Sepúlveda and Bill Weber.

The bill passed unanimously (61-0) in the State Senate yesterday (Thursday) and is now headed for Governor Kathy Hochul’s signature.

“Earlier in the year, many of my constituents were victims to massive fraud.” Assemblyman Sam Berger told FrumNews.com. “This bill will help clamp down on theft, ensuring families can put food on the table, and taxpayers are not on the hook twice.”

“Stealing food stamps/SNAP benefits is an unconscionable crime,” Senator Simcha Felder told FrumNews.com. “Our most vulnerable people and families rely on it to put food on the table, only to discover that their funds are gone and can’t be replaced. Every decent person can sleep better knowing that we did everything we could to better protect people from this fraud.”

On The Ground

As the attacks ramped up against our communities, Shmira and Shomrim members mobilized and have since foiled a number of attempts, Baruch Hashem.

In Flatbush, After Shmira volunteers reviewed hours of video footage, two suspects behind the massive EBT and credit card skimming scheme were apprehended at Moisha’s Kosher Supermarket on Avenue M by Shmira. The scammers were then taken into police custody.

In Williamsburg, NYPD and Shomrim volunteers apprehended three perpetrators, who were seen the night before putting skimmers at Rosemary Kosher Supermarket on Flushing Avenue. When the suspects returned the next morning to retrieve the skimmers. Williamsburg Shomrim was notified and started following them until the police intercepted and arrested them.

Outsiders are placing the skimmer devices. This is a city-wide issue, happening all over New York City and State. It is part of a larger, sophisticated organized crime ring that steals funds from SNAP food stamp benefits and obtains credit card details by placing skimming devices at stores.

FrumNews.com has been informed, that although this skimming scam is mostly happening at hundreds of local Brooklyn bodegas. Kosher grocery stores and supermarkets in Brooklyn are having their frum managers check almost daily the devices to make sure no skimmers are being placed.

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1 Comment

  • Good and bad suggestions 06/17/2024 | י"א סיון התשפ"ד

    The last comment was a very good suggestion. That should be the first thing the manager does when he goes in in the morning. The one about reporting fraud is a little useless as people don’t usually know it happened till it’s too late

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