NYC Lawmakers To Commissioner: “Address Food Stamps Skimming Now”

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

As reported several times, Food Stamp (EBT) skimming scams have increased over the past several months in New York and New Jersey, including the frum communities of Brooklyn, Monsey, and Lakewood. Hundreds of frum residents said that their EBT benefits have been emptied.

We reported earlier this week, a recent bipartisan set of bills introduced in the NY Legislature would increase fines to empower benefit recipients with better fraud prevention tools. The bills are spearheaded by Frum Assemblyman Sam Berger and Frum Senator Simcha Felder.

The bills would increase fines to empower benefit recipients with better fraud prevention tools. The first bill provides that the theft of benefits contained on an EBT card is a class D felony punishable by a ten thousand dollar fine. The second and third bills require EBT systems to allow benefit recipients to cancel or lock a card when fraud is suspected or reported and include automatic cancellation when fraud is reported.

In a letter obtained by, a number of Queens and Brooklyn Congress members, State Legislators, and City council members, led by Rep. Grace Meng, Frum Assemblyman Sam Berger of Kew Gardens Hills, Queens. Assemblyman Brian Cunningham of Crown Heights, Jewish Assemblyman David Weprin, city Councilmember Sandra Ung and many other elected officials urged the Adam’s administration commissioner for the NYC Department of Social Services Molly Wasow Park, to act on behalf of their residents to tackle the ongoing EBT fraud.

“As of February 5, 2024, over 70 constituents have come forward to inform our offices that their SNAP cards were emptied. The charges all occurred on January 27, 2024. and were marked as taking place in two locations in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, all within an approximate 10-minute span,” the letter said. “We respectfully request this matter be addressed by your department immediately. Doing so is essential not only for protecting SNAP recipients from fraud, but for preserving the integrity and trust in the Department of Social Services.”

The letter added, “This problem has gone on for too long and has affected many vulnerable people who require this assistance to live.”

Newly elected Frum Assemblyman Sam Berger proudly representing the kehilla of Kew Gardens Hills, Queens released a statement following a rash of EBT fraud targeted his community.

“Massive fraud targeting the EBT system is rampant in NY. Taxpayers are paying double, agencies are inundated w/claims & hundreds of families are unable to put food on the table for weeks. I thank my colleagues in government for joining me in bringing this issue to the forefront.” Berger wrote.

Brooklyn Shmira and Shomrim organizations have warned residents to be cautious at the checkout counter for the past several months. They have recovered several skimming devices placed by outsiders in kosher supermarkets, thus thwarting additional scams.

EBT skimming fraud happens silently and often without the victims’ knowledge. Scammers enter stores and place hidden skimming devices over or inside card-reading machines at legitimate retailers to copy card and PIN information directly. EBT programs are complex and vary by state. The federal government funds them, and state agencies handle most recipient functions.


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1 Comment

  • Willy WMSBG 04/04/2024 | כ"ה אדר ב' התשפ"ד

    The person that assisted me in signing up for Food Stams just sent me this article after i reached out to her about this issue.
    Thank you for publicizing this.

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