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SNAP Retailer Reminder - Card Skimming

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Protect SNAP Customers from Card Skimming
at Your Point-of-Sale (POS)

Important SNAP Reminder

What is a card skimmer?

  • Devices that criminals attach to point-of-sale (POS) machines/PIN pads to steal card numbers and other information from credit, debit, and EBT cards.
  • Criminals make card skimmers look like a normal part of a POS machine /PIN pad.
  • They are easy to place and hard to spot.
  • Criminals can attach card skimmers in less than one minute.

How does card-skimming effect SNAP customers?

  • Criminals use skimmed EBT card numbers and PINs to steal SNAP benefits from SNAP recipients.
  • For individuals and families who rely on SNAP benefits to meet their food needs, losing benefits can have a devastating impact.

What can you do to prevent card-skimming?

  • Inspect POS machines /PIN pads regularly (at least daily) to look for tampering.
    • Pull up on the top of the machine and pick the machine up multiple times every day to check for loose parts that don’t belong to the POS machine/PIN pad.
    • Put a sticker or other mark on your POS machines/PIN pads. If the sticker is damaged or you cannot see the mark, there might be a card skimmer covering it.
  • Use surveillance cameras to monitor the POS machine/PIN pad and cash register area.
    • Surveillance cameras can prevent criminal activity or record activity that can later be used in an investigation.
    • Immediately examine all POS machines/PIN pads if a surveillance camera has been moved, damaged, or blocked.
  • Do not place anything near your POS terminal/PIN pad. Criminals can hide tiny cameras in almost anything that is placed on your counter like charity boxes or boxes used to hold leaflets.
  • Do not allow unscheduled service visits. Always check with your POS machine/PIN pad provider before allowing anyone access to it.
  • Train employees to be aware of suspicious customer behavior.

Talk to your POS machine/PIN pad provider

Ask about resources to help you prevent card-skimming in your store. Find out whether your POS equipment is the most secure option for your store or if it’s time to upgrade.

What should you do if you find a card skimmer or detect tampering?

Stop using the POS machine/PIN pad and immediately call:

  • Your local police.
  • Your POS equipment provider; and
  • The USDA Office of Inspector General Hotline at 1-800-424-9121.

If you have questions, please contact the Food and Nutrition Service, SNAP, at:

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.

SNAP Retailer Notice - Dec. 2022

Page updated: March 25, 2024