From staff reports
The state Department of Human Services has issued a warning of a potential scam targeting individuals who receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, wherein a recipient receives a phishing email in order to obtain their personal information.
The scam involves an email from “firstname.lastname@example.org” and implies SNAP recipients may be eligible for a “settlement payment” if they fill out their personal payment information, according to a DHS news release.
“DHS will never ask for personal information in an unsolicited email, text message, or phone call. If someone is claiming to be from or affiliated with the Department and they are asking you for your personal information, it is a scam,” DHS Secretary Dr. Val Arkoosh said.
Texts or calls about DHS benefits that seem suspicious should be reported to the DHS fraud tip line at (844) 347-8477.
State Inspector General Lucas M. Miller said his office “remains steadfast” in its commitment to preserve public trust in assistance programs.
The public can make such reports through the Inspector General Office’s website or by calling the Public Assistance Fraud Tipline at (800) 932-0582.
DHS said it sends informational text messages and phone calls to people who receive SNAP, Medicaid and other benefits from the number (833) 648-1964. However, DHS’ text messages will not include details about a person’s benefits, such as the amount of SNAP they are authorized to receive; a request for specific personal information; and/or links to unofficial sites.
According to DHS, most of its texts will direct people to dhs.pa.gov, COMPASS, or a site that ends in .gov or .org.
DHS said it also, at times, makes phone calls to people receiving benefits to let them know about changes that could affect their benefits or upcoming renewal dates. These texts and calls are meant to be informational and will not reference specific account numbers.