Search warrants shed light on metro-wide EBT skimming investigation

Search warrants shed light on metro-wide EBT skimming investigation

Search warrants shed light on metro-wide EBT skimming investigation

Minnesota’s Department of Human Services has found an uptick in reports of card skimming affecting Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) recipients that have gone missing.

5 EYEWITNESS NEWS reviewed search warrants that mentioned law enforcement in numerous agencies are investigating EBT/ATM fraud and the use of skimming machines.

Last week, DHS warned in a message on X, formerly known as Twitter, for Minnesotans on public assistance programs to check their accounts for possible fraud.

RELATED: DHS warns Minnesotans of rise in EBT fraud, urges protective actions

A skimming device is often hidden on a store’s card-swiping machine that’s then able to steal card information, according to DHS. 

“We are investigating all reports of benefit theft so stolen funds can be reimbursed as quickly as possible, and are coordinating with local law enforcement partners who are investigating these reports for possible criminal charges,” wrote a DHS spokesperson in a statement on Monday.

“To see this is happening, it’s devastating especially around the holidays,” said Rachel Holmes with Hunger Solutions Minnesota.

Holmes said some victims have been calling their nonprofit hotline for assistance to feed their families.

“At the Minnesota Food HelpLine we can help find immediate — additional resources that could really help these families make up for these benefits,” Holmes said.

“I was beyond mad,” said Jamie, a mother from north Minneapolis. “It was declined, declined, I went to the cash machine and found all my benefits were gone.”

Now, this mother is trying to find food for her children after her December benefits were reportedly taken off her card.

“I mean targeting poor people, is like the worst, we already don’t have anything,” Jamie said. “They need to look into it, figure it out, stop it, and hopefully reimburse us.”

In the meantime, Jamie said they’ve received an eviction notice since she’s also trying to pay her rent and find food for her family.

Back on Friday, we spoke to Antinet, a mother of three little boys, who also reported to police that her benefits had been stolen from her card.

“You’ve got families that are just not eating,” Antinet said. “It’s just hell.”

She said she learned her card was drained of benefits when she tried to buy food for her family.

The extent of the reported benefit theft hasn’t been shared by DHS.

“Ramsey County has received reports that monthly benefits deposited in EBT accounts were then taken the same day by unauthorized users. The county is advising our participants in SNAP, General Assistance, Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP), Minnesota Supplemental Aid (MSA) and Housing grants to check their balance and call their caseworker if any problems are identified so we can provide immediate assistance,” a county spokesperson told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS.

DHS shared the following advice for EBT users:


  1. ​Check your EBT and P-EBT transactions
  2. Report issues ASAP to your Tribal or county worker
  3. Reset your EBT or P-EBT PIN: Call 888-997-2227 or visit 


  • ​Change your PIN regularly 
  • ​Freeze your card when not in use 
  • ​Don’t keep large balances 
  • ​Report issues promptly 
  • ​Block out-of-state transactions 
  • ​Request a replacement card if your card is lost or stolen or believe your account is affected