Do You Suspect Fraud?

The Tennessee Department of Human Services (TDHS) is here to ensure every Tennessean has the tools they need to become financially stable. Many of our programs provide benefits based on documented need and some programs utilize Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) Cards to deliver food or cash benefits. Unfortunately, some criminals are willing to steal benefits meant to help families on their way to financial stability. In some situations, there may be reimbursement options available for customers who lost benefits for the federally funded Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).  

Common Types of Benefit Theft and Fraud

  • Card Skimming: Card skimmers are stealthy fraud devices that collect or copy card information when a card is swiped or scanned for payment. Criminals attach card skimmers to common card reading devices, such as grocery store or gas pump payment systems. Although they’re often used to steal bank funds or credit card information, skimmers can also be used to steal SNAP, Pandemic-EBT, TANF or other benefits that use electronic benefit transfer (EBT) cards. 
  • Phishing: Phishing refers to the process of using phone calls, text, emails, or other communication to “fish” for sensitive personal information or convince a person or organization to reveal information that can be used to steal bank funds, identity, benefits, or other assets. When running a phishing scheme, a thief will pretend to be a representative of an organization (like TDHS) and send an unsolicited call, email, text, or other forms of communication to a customer. The thief may make claims about a problem with the account or ask for account information such as a card number, PIN, security code, account number, or address to confirm identity or address the alleged problem. The communication may also include a digital link that can be used to illegally access benefits. If provided, the thief will use the customer’s information to steal benefits.  Additional details on phishing tactics and prevention can be found on the Federal Trade Commission website.  
  • Fraud or Misrepresentation of Need: Misrepresenting a need for benefits is considered fraud and a criminal act that is punishable according to state and federal laws. 


How to Help Prevent and Stop EBT Benefit Fraud

Here are a few best practices to prevent benefit theft:

1. Change Your EBT Card Personal Identification Number (PIN) Regularly  

Your PIN is one means of verifying your identity when using an EBT card for Families First, Tennessee’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)Pandemic EBT (P-EBT), and other programs administered by TDHS. Changing your PIN regularly can help make it harder for thieves to access your benefits or “steal your identity.”  Changing your PIN before your benefits are placed on your card each month is a good habit. 

2. Check Your Balance Regularly 

Checking your EBT balance regularly can help you budgetmeal plan and track the available amount of benefits for accuracy. You can check the balance on your card by visiting or by calling the number on the back of your EBT card. Customers can also find information on their Families First, SNAP or P-EBT case by logging into the One DHS Customer Portal. If you do not already have a One DHS Customer Portal accountclick here for instructions on how to set up an account.The Knowledge Base on the One DHS Customer Portal is filled with articles about services administered by TDHS. Customers can use a keyword search to find answers about TDHS programs. 

3. Check the Payment Device Used for EBT Transactions 

Both customers and business owners can regularly check card payment devices and scanners for signs of tampering or card skimming devices. Compromised payment devices can be used to steal account information and related benefits using electronic tools and tactics. 

4. Never Share Your Account Information

Account information such as your PIN, account number, or other private/personal details can be used to compromise your account. Your account information should not be shared with other individuals or parties. 

5. Be Cautious of Unplanned Calls, Emails, Texts or Other Suspicious Communications Asking for Personal Information

All TDHS customers should exercise caution if contacted and asked for personal information related to participation in a TDHS-administered program.  Although TDHS may contact customers about a case, these communications are often pre-scheduled or planned with the customer’s knowledge. If you are not scheduled or expecting to receive communication from TDHS, act with caution if anyone contacts you requesting details about your case or situation!

If you are unsure if a phone call, text message, email, or other communication is from TDHS, or if you receive an unsolicited or unplanned communication about your case or card number, DO NOT RESPOND OR SHARE YOUR INFORMATION. Instead, consider checking your case using the One DHS Customer Portal (if applicable) or contact TDHS directly using the information on our online contact page.


What to Do If You Believe Your Benefits Were Stolen 

If you believe your EBT card has been compromised or notice an unexplained use of your benefits, take the following steps immediately:

  • Call the EBT Customer Service at 1-888-997-9444 to report the card as stolen and request that the card be deactivated and replaced.
  • Call the TDHS Office of Inspector General fraud hotline at 1-800-241-2629 to report the incident of fraud and assist with the investigation.
  • File a police report with your local law enforcement agency to help prevent future incidents.

Submit a Reimbursement Request (For SNAP and Disaster-SNAP Households Affected by Skimming, Cloning, and Similar Fraud Only)

SNAP is a federally funded program administered by TDHS, and the federal Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023 introduced guidance to help states replace SNAP and D-SNAP benefits stolen via skimming, cloning, and similar fraud. Households who believe their SNAP benefits were stolen through these tactics between October 1, 2022 and September 30, 2024 can file a replacement request.

The following types of fraud are eligible for replacement:

  • Card skimming (when devices illegally installed on ATMs or point-of-sale terminals capture card data or record households’ PINs)
  • Card cloning (when data captured by skimming are used to create fake EBT cards and then steal from households’ accounts)
  • Other similar fraudulent methods (including but not limited to scamming through fraudulent phone calls or text messages that mimic official TDHS messaging and phishing)

Note: The fraud replacement request process is only available to SNAP and D-SNAP households at this time.

How to Submit a Skimming Fraud-Related Replacement Request in Tennessee:

SNAP and D-SNAP skimming fraud replacement requests can be submitted within the One DHS Customer Portal at Customers that cannot access the online portal to submit a request can retrieve a paper form at their local TDHS office.

Customers can log into their account and select the “SNAP Skimming/Fraud Replacement” option to submit a replacement request. New One DHS Customer Portal accounts can be created using the “create an account” option on the Portal homepage. For help, click here to view video instructions for creating a One DHS Account and linking your SNAP case.

Skimming Fraud Replacement Request Submission Deadlines:

Requests for replacement of stolen SNAP and D-SNAP benefits due to skimming, cloning, or similar fraud must be submitted in a timely manner.

  • SNAP customers who experienced skimming fraud between October 1, 2022, and November 6, 2023, must submit their replacement request by February 5, 2024 to be considered for reimbursement.
  • Customers who experienced skimming fraud after November 6, 2023, must submit a replacement request within 30 days of the date the customer discovered the fraud’s occurrence to be considered for reimbursement.

Only the following types of fraud are eligible for replacement:

  • Card skimming (when devices illegally installed on ATMs or point-of-sale [POS] terminals capture card data or record households’ PINs)
  • Card cloning (when data captured by skimming are used to create fake EBT cards and then steal from households’ accounts)
  • Other similar fraudulent methods (including but not limited to scamming through fraudulent phone calls or text messages that mimic official TDHS messaging and phishing)

All reports of skimming, cloning, or similar fraud will require confirmation from the customer verifying that all information reported in the request is true and correct. Customers who purposefully give false information may be prosecuted under applicable state and federal criminal laws. Customers may be contacted to provide further validation of their request.

Replacement requests may be denied in some cases in which there is insufficient evidence to support the request or the customer’s request for replacement is outside the allowed scope, including:

  • No transaction(s) exist
  • Transaction(s) occur prior to 10/1/2022 or after 9/30/2024
  • Transactions did not involve SNAP or D-SNAP benefits (P-EBT benefits are not eligible for replacement)
  • Household already received two replacement issuances for stolen benefits within the federal fiscal year
  • Request not submitted timely

Only fraudulent transactions related to skimming, cloning or similar fraud (text and phone schemes) can be submitted through this process.

Customers can track their fraud replacement request status through their One DHS Customer Portal account, where they will also receive notification of the request outcome.

Fair Hearing (Appeal) Rights

Fair hearing rights are available to all customers, including those with approved replacement requests. Customers who are denied all or a portion of a reimbursement of benefits allegedly stolen between October 1, 2022 and September 30, 2024 through skimming, cloning, or similar fraud will receive direct notice via mail and email (if available) regarding instructions and their right to request a fair hearing to review/appeal their replacement request.

If you know or suspect someone fraudulently received:

Families First
SNAP (formerly known as food stamps)
Child Care
Vocational Rehabilitation
or any other DHS program

Contact the
Human Services Fraud Hotline:
Within the Nashville Area:

You may also report SNAP or TANF fraud information here: REPORT SNAP (FOOD STAMPS) OR TANF (FAMILIES FIRST) FRAUD