If you see food stamps being sold on E-Bay or on Craigslist, resist the urge to buy them – no matter how cheap they are.

Some abusive Supplementary Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP aka food stamp) recipients are using the Internet to sell their Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards. These dupes take advantage of the fact that EBT cards can be easily replaced if they are lost or stolen, which makes it pretty easy to take advantage of the system.

Changes to the EBT system will make the process of reclaiming lost EBT cards much, much harder to abuse than before.

The Federal Department of Agriculture is proposing a new rule that would allow states to impose a formal explanation as to how a card was stolen. The FDA also proposes giving states the power to deny any further cards to those who fail to comply and cannot give a satisfactory answer.

This harder stance comes at a price though. What will happen to those who legitimately lose their cards either because the cards were stolen, dropped or damaged by children running around the house?

No, the real solution here is to go and hit the middlemen – E-Bay and Craigslist. These popular e-commerce sites have to be pressured to stop acting as ‘fences’ for the sale of EBT cards. Shutting down these avenues will deprive many would-be fraudsters to engage in easy, anonymous trading over the Internet.

Stricter controls of EBT cards need to be monitored as well. Assigning a personal identification number and placing a limit on that PIN each week will make selling EBT cards useless in the first place since the balance is universal. You can have two ATM cards, but they’ll both pull money from the same bank account anyway.

But the fact of the matter is that food stamp fraud wouldn’t have hit the Internet if there were enough decent-paying jobs in the first place.

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