Technology is a Fraudsters Friend

Young woman receives a canned food item from food bank. An unrecognizable volunteer hands her the canned food item.

Today’s fraudsters aren’t working alone. They have technology. Fraudsters go where the money is and online is where it’s at. Considering how we have put our “life” online, our digital identity is more important than ever. The acceleration of the digital transformation resulted in a surge of online transactions, greater adoption of digital payments, and also increased fraud. As more daily activities — work, education, shopping, and government benefits — shift online, online fraud is also on the rise.

Welcome to the world of technology. Why wouldn’t a fraudster love using technology? A computer program that will do what a fraudster tells it do?  All day?  All over the world?  One morning sending out a Bot increases fraudsters reach as far as the fraudster wants to limit himself. Or install a skimmer device on a card read and collect food stamp benefit EBT card information without anyone knowing? The opportunities are endless. And fraudsters love opportunity.

Like an opportunity that was found with Dale Piar’s SNAP EBT card. Pair, on social security himself, supports his disabled son. Pair went to grab a few times for his Thanksgiving Day dinner believing he had $242.86, only to discover that there was $1. He is not the only victim either. The Tennessee Department of Human Services has received about 870 reports of EBT card fraud because of card skimming.  Unfortunately, these benefits do not get replaced.

Trillions of dollars are quickly and electronically distributed to help people in need. While this is entirely appropriate for those who qualify for assistance; it can unfortunately open the door to those with criminal intent. Additionally, legacy systems challenge agencies seeking to securely digitalize operations without incurring significant risk. This creates an environment ripe for fraud.

Today’s Fraud of the Day is based on an article “Snap benefit scam leaves Nashville dad with less than $1 dollar on his EBT card” published by on November 18, 2022.

Dale Piar stopped at Kroger last week to do some last-minute  Thanksgiving shopping but he left empty-handed. He said he had the turkey and the trimmings when he went to check out and his EBT card was declined. He said he tried several times, and again the card declined only to find out he had $.88 left on his card.”I had everything on the counter, and it ran through and that’s when I found out that my card was declined.”

Piar says he and his son went to several different grocery stores when the funds were issued on their card this month. But by the second trip, the card was declined. “I was surprised because I knew I had $242.86. And I said, ‘Oh my god, what happened?” said Piar. Piar says he immediately called the Tennessee Department of Human Services who is aware of the month’s long issue.

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Larry Benson, Senior Director of Strategic Alliances, LexisNexis Risk Solutions - Government

Larry Benson is responsible for developing strategic partnerships and solutions for the government vertical. His expertise focuses on how government programs are defrauded by criminal groups, and the approaches necessary to prevent them from succeeding.

Mr. Benson has 30 years of experience in sales and business development. Before joining LexisNexis® Risk Solutions, he spent 12 years founding and managing two software technology startups. During the 1990s he spent 10 years as a Regional Director helping to grow a New England-based technology company from 300 employees to 7,000. He started his career with Martin Marietta Aerospace working on laser guided weapons and day/night vision systems.

A sought-after speaker and accomplished writer, Mr. Benson is the principal author of “Fraud of the Day,” a website dedicated to educating government officials about how criminals are defrauding government programs. He has co-authored WTF? Where’s the Fraud? How to Unmask and Stop Identity Fraud’s Drain on Our Government, and Data Personified, How Fraud is Changing the Meaning of Identity.

Benson holds a Bachelor of Science in Physics from Albright College, and earned two graduate degrees – a Master of Business Administration from Florida Institute of Technology, and a Master of Science in Engineering from Lehigh University.