INDIANAPOLIS — An Indianapolis woman said she found a card skimmer devices on the credit card machines at a local grocery store after she was scammed out of more than $700.
Skimming is when someone places a fake card reader over a real one. The device collects the victims card numbers and PIN numbers so that the thieves can use them to go on a shopping spree.
Chelsea McCorkle is one of dozens of Hoosiers who have had their SNAP benefits stolen over the last few months.
"I'm sad for the people in the city, the women going through this, being scammed wondering how their kids are eating," McCorkle said.
McCorkle tells WRTV's Rafael Sanchez her SNAP benefits were wiped out shortly after she went to the Save-A-Lot grocery store on East 38th to do her shopping.
Since it was the last place she had shopped, she decided to pay the store a visit to find out what might have happened. McCorkle says she had read something about "skimming" devices, but never thought she'd fall victim to the scheme.
The mother of three was recording on her cell phone when she went into the store, checking every credit card reader at each cash register, and found a skimmer attached to one of the card machines.
You can watch McCorkle discover the device and immediately ask for a store manager in the recording below.
"Look at this--this is a fake skimmer," she can be heard saying in the recording. "This wiped out my whole food stamp after I came in here yesterday. This is fake. I'm calling the police and the news."
WRTV reached out to Save-A-Lot and were provided with the following statement.
"The security of our customer's financial data is a top priority. We work closely with our independent license owners to conduct regular checks for fraud, including skimming devices. Our partner in Indianapolis recently discovered, disabled and removed such devices in our stores on Lafayette Road and East 38th Street. The team immediately reported the incident to the Indianapolis Police Department and is supporting their ongoing investigation. We will continue to check payment terminals in all local stores for further tampering. We encourage customers to monitor their accounts closely and report any fraudulent activity to their bank immediately."
WRTV recently spoke to two other women whose SNAP benefits were stolen from their EBT cards. Bonita Edwards believes her card was wiped out after she used it to purchase groceries at either Kroger or Walmart.
Rhonda Cook said she was shopping at Save-A-Lot before over $800 went missing from her card.
The Indiana Family and Social Services Administration which oversees the federal program known as SNAP formerly called "food stamps" is working to see how it can get people reimbursed for their losses.
Since January, the state has received 137 complaints similar to Chelsea's story. In the past two weeks, there were 33 complaints.
"I don't want any other family have to go through that. When you go to the grocery stores kind of give (the card reader) a tug on it . Grocery stores should not be opposed because we're checking to save ourselves and keep our benefits for our children. Pull on the card readers . It was easy to come off and make sure protect yourself and change your pin every time you use your card," said McCorkle.
The video below shows a cleaner look at how the skimmer devices are attached to the card readers inside the store. As you can see, they look just like the actual card machines and are attached on top.
The federal government is working to address this national issue. Last year, a law was passed to protect and replace snap benefits that were stolen.
Indiana has submitted their plan for reimbursement. However, it will be a while before recipients can expect their benefits to be reimbursed.
If you have had your SNAP benefits stolen, it's important to report it.
Anyone who has had benefits stolen from them between the dates of October 1, 2022 and September 30, 2024 will likely qualify for reimbursement. For more information click here.