Skimmer Scammers Swipe Away EBT Funds From Williamsburg Families

By Matis Glenn

A pair of men allegedly used skimming devices to defraud several Williamsburg families who rely on EBT (SNAP) food benefits to feed their families last week, Shomrim told Hamodia.

Shomrim received three calls on Friday from distraught families who discovered that their EBT cards had been cleaned out, but they believe many more may have been affected.

It was the second such string of cases this year in Williamsburg. In March, scammers used the same method to defraud EBT users at a Lee Avenue supermarket. Skimmers are devices that are attached to payment terminals and are able to read debit card information. They then send this information remotely to the scammers’ computers, where it is used to defraud victims.

Shomrim went back to the scene of the March crime, but did not find any skimmers in the store. However they worked their way through neighboring supermarkets, and found devices attached to payment terminals at two locations not far from the Lee Avenue store; one on Friday and another on Sunday.

It isn’t clear how much money was stolen this time, but Shomrim said that some families lost thousands of dollars during the last crime spree.

After discovering the devices, Shomrim proceeded to painstakingly comb through store surveillance footage to identify the suspects who placed the machines on the terminals; they discovered two men and the Florida license plate of a vehicle used by them.

“We have information on the suspects, but it’s not clear if they are responsible for March’s crime spree,” Williamsburg Shomrim Coordinator Yanky Itzkowitz told Hamodia.

Itzkowitz says that there are easy steps EBT users and store managers can take to prevent fraud.

“Store owners should check every morning to see if there are any devices on their payment terminals,” Itzkowitz says. “They’re not invisible; if you give a once-over on the terminal, you’ll find them. If you find such devices, call police and Shomrim immediately.

“Card holders should check their balances regularly for any abnormalities, and they should change their PIN numbers frequently.”

To Read The Full Story

Are you already a subscriber?
Click to log in!