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Newsroom USDA Warns Food Assistance Clients of Scam
9/8/2015

There have been reports of the general public receiving unsolicited calls from what appears to be the SNAP toll free information hotline number: 1-800-221-5689.  The unsolicited callers are requesting personal information offering assistance for filling out a SNAP application or other non-SNAP related services such as home security systems. Never provide personal information or your credit card number over the phone to unsolicited callers. This outside entity that has “spoofed” the SNAP toll free information hotline number is not affiliated with FNS or SNAP. If you suspect that you are receiving illegitimate calls from 1-800-221-5689, you may file a complaint with the FCC. If you have already fallen victim to this or a similar scam, please visit: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/idtheft/ for more information on identity theft.
 
As we advise you below, there are calls being made to the public using the FNS SNAP Hotline Number (800-221-5689).  SNAP has a toll free information number to allow the general public to request information about SNAP.  The call center that operates the hotline number accepts incoming calls but does not make promotional or robo calls.  FNS is investigating the matter as it appears an outside entity has been able to replicate the hotline number and make outbound or robo calls.  It is unclear at this point if the outbound calls are being made to a particular population.  As you can imagine, this poses a serious fraud threat as unsuspecting call recipients may be duped into providing personal and financial information.
 
If you receive any inquiries concerning this matter, we ask that you please try to obtain any details on the nature of the calls (caller-id number, if the call was recorded, what was said on the call, etc…) in order to aid FNS in our investigation.  Please forward the information to Jennifer.King@fns.usda.gov