Word on the Street: People Buying More than Just Food with Food Stamps

Surprise! There are some stores in the county that, according to some, will let people use their EBT cards (I think they’re called SNAP here) to buy booze and smokes but the real action are people selling their benefits or sometimes selling the food they get for the old standbys of sex, drugs and cash. Sites like Craigslist and Backpage are policing those ads but they are cropping up. I also understand that some drug dealers will accept benefits – at a lesser rate than cash of course.

I’m not sure how that works. Maybe they have card swipers? Mobile e-card readers like the PayAnywhere PAR-1 Mobile Card Reader make this sort of fraud much easier and the device itself can be purchased on Amazon for $10. Last year there was an article out of New England where people were caught selling the actual cards for cash.  I’m pretty sure that’s the kind of thing is more common here. Apparently if you “lose” your cards in many states the taxpayers foot the bill for a new one so there’s no incentive to keep hold of them.

On the other hand escorts and other people who conduct “business” by phone are probably aware of technological advances that make their business easier.

Anyone think drug testing welfare recipients might make a dent in this? Nah that’s crazy Tea Party talk.

You can check the official South Carolina website and see that booze, smokes and hookers are not approved items to buy. JP Morgan handles the processing though and they’re known for tolerating fraud. I suppose that if you really cared about this you could report stores and people defrauding the government – but it’s a long process where you need to provide the evidence. So unless you can grab a receipt from the liquor store where you saw the fraud it’s pretty pointless. Huzzah for the system! The welfare state is working so well there’s a song about it:


One Response to “Word on the Street: People Buying More than Just Food with Food Stamps”

  1. MAD MIKEY on December 27th, 2012 1:05 pm

    Hey Rob, That is nothing new, but I would like to point out that the problem has gotten a lot worse since the rapid influx of foreigners buying up local convience stores. Not trying to be pregidice here, just stating the obvious. What is worse is that mothers are also using their WIC benefits that they get for their kids nutrition. I am not sure exactly how it works myself, but I know it happens because as someone who has work several years in retail, I have been trained to watch for suspicious transactions. and I also want to state that people who get these benefits should be monitered more closely.

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