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BATON ROUGE, LA - The Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) is taking swift action to address a recently discovered EBT cloning incident in Calcasieu Parish, the second such incident in a week. Local police believe an illegal skimming device was placed at a local retailer in the Lake Charles area within the past 30 days. No victims have been identified thus far; however, the investigation is ongoing.
DCFS has identified 12 victims stemming from a similar cloning incident in Allen Parish last week.
“We were able to catch both of these incidents early, limiting the number of people potentially affected. We are working closely with law enforcement to identify the subjects and any additional retail locations,” said Rhonda Brown, DCFS Director of Fraud and Recovery. “We are urging all cardholders to be vigilant in protecting their cards: Change your PIN every 30 days. Regularly check your purchase history. Check the point-of-sale device twice before you swipe.”
As a precaution, DCFS is sending text alerts to inform all EBT cardholders who recently shopped at the affected retailer. The messages urge those cardholders to change their Personal Identification Number (PIN) immediately. Changing the PIN is a vital step in protecting benefits and preventing unauthorized access to accounts.
DCFS recommends all EBT cardholders in the impacted area take the following actions:
- Change your EBT card PIN: Visit www.LifeInCheckEBT.com or call the EBT customer service line at 1-888-987-1117 as soon as possible. Select a PIN that is unique and not easily guessable, avoiding common patterns or personal information.
- Monitor your EBT card activity: Regularly review your card transactions using the LifeInCheck EBT mobile app or by visiting the official website. Report any suspicious or unauthorized transactions immediately to the EBT customer service line.
- Be cautious with card usage: When making purchases, be alert and examine the card terminal for any unusual devices or signs of tampering. Shield your PIN entry from view to prevent potential compromise.
Skimming happens when illegal devices are installed on card reader machines such as ATMs, point-of-sale (POS) terminals, or fuel pumps. When a card is swiped, the skimming device captures the card information and PIN. Criminals use the stolen information to create fake cards. More than $1 billion is stolen each year from consumers and financial institutions across the United States.
DCFS is committed to preserving the security of benefits and is working closely with law enforcement agencies to investigate this EBT cloning incident. The agency is taking all necessary measures to protect cardholders and prevent further fraudulent activities. You can learn more about protecting your benefits at dcfs.la/skimming.
For more information about EBT cards, visit www.dcfs.la.gov/ebt or contact the EBT customer service line at 1-888-997-1117.