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Latest Welfare Fraud? Food Stamp Cards Sold on Craigslist!

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
(United States Department of Agriculture)

As Fox News said it, Craigslist makes turning food stamps into cash a SNAP.”

SNAP is a wry reference to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, as food stamps are now known. They’re not stamps anymore but look very much a debit card.

Despite strenuous efforts to clamp down on fraud, tens of thousands of the cards are sold on Craigslist, turning them into quick cash for low-income recipients.

Fox News reported Tuesday the number of Americans who receive government assistance has exploded over the last five years to over 50 million. One million have been added since last June alone. While the USDA has tried to curb the problem by giving states more authority to run and oversee their own programs, unless somebody flags a post on Craigslist or reports suspected fraud, there is little that can be done.

Fox News reports with record numbers of Americans receiving some sort of SNAP assistance, and with the growth of social media and Internet barter and sell sites, fraud has seen a significant uptick.

‘With one in every seven Americans on food stamps — up a million since June of last year — the impetus to cut down on fraud is rising. According to reports, nearly 850,000 people were investigated for possible SNAP fraud in the United States and 1,200 stores were permanently removed from the food stamp program for illegal conduct.”

While that number of people investigated is staggering, some officials say the actual number who are committing some sort of fraud is probably well above that figure. SNAP and other government assistance cards are not allowed to be used by anyone but the recipient, and are not to be traded. That hasn’t stopped Craigslist and other Internet posters from selling cards at half their face value — sometimes to get fast cash to buy drugs and alcohol, say police.

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