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State offices warn of scams

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — The Alabama Department of Human Resources is warning Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program recipients of an “uptick” in phone scammers.

Communications director Russell Sellers told Alabama Daily News DHS is unsure of how many scam calls there have been, but that it is over 100. He said most go unreported.

“(The department) encourages any SNAP recipient who suspects they have received one of these fraudulent calls or anyone who notices their benefits are missing to contact their local county DHR office immediately,” Sellers said.

According to a late June news release from DHR, scammers will present themselves as employees of DHR or EBT Customer Service and try to get valuable information like EBT card numbers and PINs.

“These thieves are attempting to take advantage of those most in need of assistance by any means at their disposal,” DHR commissioner Nancy Buckner said in the statement. “It is vital for those receiving benefits to protect their personal information.”

The department could not say how much money had been lost due to scams.

According to the release, SNAP recipients can contact their local DHR office to verify any requests for information. In order to protect information from potential scammers, DHR recommends never giving out PIN or personal information to anybody or any organization that is unfamiliar. 

At a recent Alabama Board of Pharmacy meeting, a spoofing scam targeting pharmacies was discussed. According to an alert on the board’s website, calls made to pharmacists appear to be coming from the board’s phone number.

“The caller will present to the pharmacist that there is an issue with the pharmacist/pharmacy license or permit,” the alert says. “The caller may suggest that the Drug Enforcement Agency is involved. The caller will state that the license or permit is being sanctioned and that a monetary fine is required to continue to keep the license/permit in good standing.

“DO NOT send money or entertain this conversation. The Board of Pharmacy will NOT address license/permit or disciplinary sanctions in this manner.”

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