PA Warns of Potential SNAP Benefits Scam, Reminds Public of Safe Ways to Apply for Assistance   

Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) Secretary Dr. Val Arkoosh is informing Pennsylvanians of a potential scam targeting individuals who receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits wherein a social media post directs individuals to an offer for emergency SNAP benefits and a link to a website in order to obtain their personal information.

The scam, primarily found on Facebook, involves a link to a Google form, beginning with a “sites.google.com” address, that implies that SNAP recipients may be eligible for “$750 in emergency SNAP benefits” if they fill out their personal payment information. The post also states that there is an application deadline for SNAP – there is never an application deadline for SNAP benefits.

“DHS will never ask for personal information on Facebook, on a Google site, in an unsolicited email, text message, or phone call. If someone is claiming to be from or affiliated with the Department and they are asking you for your personal information, it is a scam,” said Secretary Arkoosh. “Please do not fall victim to identity theft. If you ever receive a suspicious call or text asking you for information about your benefits or for your financial information, please inform the DHS fraud tip line immediately so the proper authorities can investigate.”

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).

“It is vitally important to preserve public trust in our assistance programs,” added State Inspector General Lucas M. Miller. “Pennsylvanians must stay alert about scams like this that can erode that trust, and we urge recipients to continue to protect their personal information. We encourage individuals to promptly report to the Office of State Inspector General (OSIG) any attempts to steal or exploit benefits.”

The public can make such reports through OSIG’s website or by calling the Public Assistance Fraud Tipline at 1-800-932-0582.

DHS does send informational text messages and phone calls 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.

Applications for public assistance programs can be securely 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.

DHS also, at times, makes phone calls to people receiving benefits to let them know about changes that could affect their benefits or upcoming renewal dates. These texts and calls are meant to be informational and will not reference specific account numbers. Because of federal changes to SNAP and Medicaid, text alerts have been part of DHS’ statewide, multi-pronged outreach plan to reach Pennsylvanians and inform them of the changes. Outreach to Medicaid recipients is ongoing 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; a schedule and copies of legitimate communications is available on DHS’ website.