16 March 2023- Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) Acting Secretary Val Arkoosh today informed Pennsylvanians of a potential scam in which individuals – regardless of whether or not they receive benefits through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) – receive a text message asking for EBT card information and claiming that their card is blocked.
Acting Secretary Arkoosh reminds Pennsylvanians that DHS will never ask for information about an EBT card, SNAP, Medicaid, or any other public assistance programs via unsolicited or random calls or texts. Please report any texts or calls about DHS benefits that seem suspicious by calling the DHS fraud tip line at 1-844-DHS-TIPS (1-844-347-8477).
Below is a screenshot of an example scam text:
“Do not fall victim to identity theft. If you receive unsolicited text messages asking you for your personal information, it is a scam,” said Acting Secretary Arkoosh. “If you receive a suspicious text or call asking you for personal information, please inform the DHS fraud tip line immediately so DHS and the proper authorities can investigate.”
DHS does send informational text messages to people who receive SNAP, Medicaid, and other benefits from the number 1-833-648-1964. 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; most DHS texts will direct people to dhs.pa.gov, COMPASS, or a site that ends in .gov or .org.
Pennsylvanians who have questions about whether a call, text, letter, or other communication is legitimate should contact DHS’ Office of Income Maintenance. EBT balance and transaction inquiries, as well as card replacements, can be requested from DHS’ EBT contractor, Conduent, at 888-328-7366. In addition, Pennsylvanians can access their EBT balance through the free myCOMPASS PA mobile app in a safe and secure manner.
DHS does, at times, send text messages to people receiving benefits to let them know about changes that could affect their benefits or upcoming renewal dates. These texts are meant to be informational and will not reference specific account numbers. Because of recent federal changes to SNAP and Medicaid, text alerts have been part of DHS’ aggressive, multi-pronged outreach plan to reach Pennsylvanians and inform them of the upcoming changes. Outreach to Medicaid recipients has already begun and will continue to include those texts, mail, email, and phone calls to make certain they are aware of the federal action affecting their benefits, and a schedule and copies of communications is available on DHS’s website.
Below are examples of legitimate texts from DHS:
Is your contact information up to date with DHS? Don’t miss important info about your benefits. Update your information at dhs.pa.gov/COMPASS.
Your Medical Assistance and/or CHIP renewal is due. Your health care coverage matters. Complete your renewal now at dhs.pa.gov/COMPASS or by phone.
Your renewal packet has been mailed to you. Please be aware that the renewal packet will take several days to arrive in the mail. Please note that you can use a computer to log in to your MyCOMPASS account and complete your renewal today.
Your renewal is due in 5 days. Please use a computer to log in to your MyCOMPASS account to complete your renewal today. You can also complete your renewal packet and mail it back to your CAO with the provided pre-paid envelope.
We strongly encourage Medicaid recipients to sign up for legitimate text and email communications through DHS so they can receive timely updates about their renewal and other benefits.
Applications for public assistance programs can be submitted online at www.dhs.pa.gov/compass. On-site County Assistance Office (CAO) services are available if clients cannot access online services or need assistance that cannot be accessed through the COMPASS website, the MyCOMPASS PA mobile app, or by calling the Customer Service Centers at 215-560-7226 for Philadelphia clients or 1-877-395-8930 for clients in all other counties.