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With ‘skimming’ on the rise, senators urge the USDA to require updated technology for SNAP cards

With ‘skimming’ on the rise, senators urge the USDA to require updated technology for SNAP cards

Mon. Ron Wyden on Thursday demanded tighter federal security requirements for the benefits cards that low-income families use to buy food as more households become victims of electronic theft.

Participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, receive funds for groceries on electronic benefit transfer cards. In recent months, thieves using hidden “skimming” devices have targeted an alarming number of SNAP participants.

While skimming is not unique to EBT cards, security measures such as embedded microchips and contactless payments have combated it in the consumer credit card and debit card industry. No state SNAP agency issues EBT cards with chips, only cards with magnetic stripes, according to the US Agriculture Department.

“Criminals have been using a security weakness in benefit cards to literally steal food from families in need,” Wyden, D-Ore., said in an interview. “This is a textbook case of government failure to help people who need it

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