Connecticut woman is charged with welfare fraud

The U.S. Department of Agriculture and Stonington officials have each issued warnings after reported fraud attempts targeting possible SNAP recipients through text messages.

In a fraud alert issued by the USDA late last week and shared Monday in a release through the Connecticut Department of Agriculture and on the Town of Stonington Facebook page, the USDA said the agency has received several complaints regarding text messages regarding Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP benefits, that sought to obtain personal information.

“The text might say you were chosen to receive food stamps or SNAP,” the release reads. “ If you do not know if a request for information about SNAP is real or not, contact your local SNAP office.”

Police across the nation have reported an increase in attempted scams during the COVID-19 pandemic. The latest effort aims to prey on those who have been impacted financially by offering opportunities in exchange for personal information.

Residents are urged to be on alert and never share personal information such as a social security number or bank information with individuals or organizations that you do not know.

If SNAP participants are unsure if a request for information is legitimate, the USDA advises they contact their local SNAP officer or their state agency. State contact information is available at https://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/state-directory.

For more on potential scams, visit USDA’s SNAP scam alert wesbite at https://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/scam-alerts.

If you believe you are the victim of identity theft, contact your local police department regarding procedures for filing a report. You may also file a consumer complaint online with the Federal Trade Commission at https://www.ftc.gov.

— Jason Vallee

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