TECHNOLOGY

‘It’s frustrating’: Skimming theft drains $1k from Orem mom’s food stamp card

Jan 17, 2023, 6:29 PM | Updated: 6:55 pm

OREM, Utah — Credit card skimmers are known to pop up at ATMs and gas pumps, but Orem Police are investigating one inside a grocery store that resulted in a family being robbed of their monthly food stamps.

“When I went to check out, they told me that it declined,” recalled Orem resident AnnaMarie Martin.

Martin knew she should have had plenty of money on her Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) Horizon Card, so she checked her recent transactions.

“They were at different Targets and different Walmarts,” she said of the transactions she didn’t recognize. “They were in Chandler, Arizona, and Tempe, Arizona.”

The series of out-of-state charges drained her entire balance.

“It was over $1000. In a matter of two hours, they cleared my card,” Martin said.

A Utah Horizon card. (KSL TV)

Detectives with the Orem Police Department are investigating and believe the skimmer was placed on a credit card machine at the WinCo grocery store near 895 N 980 W in Orem, Utah.

“We know there are other cases. That money was stolen using a skimmer at WinCo here in town,” said Lt. Nick Thomas of Orem PD.

Thomas said his department is working to obtain security camera footage to identify a suspect. He said the skimming devices allow crooks to capture and reproduce the card information.

“Usually, the people who are doing this are traveling across the country,” he explained. “So they do it in one place and get caught in another.”

Thomas warned residents to watch out for tampered credit card readers and any bulky, plastic additions.

“When you put your card into an ATM, just pull on the plastic piece to make sure it doesn’t have something over the top of it,” he said. “If something doesn’t look right, don’t put your card in it.”

Martin is now left waiting for next month’s benefits. Fortunately, she stocked up on frozen and canned food for her five children in December.

The Utah Department of Workforce Services told KSL that EBT cards function like cash and that the funds can’t be recovered once used. The department urges those with Horizon Cards to protect their information.

KSL 5 TV Live

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‘It’s frustrating’: Skimming theft drains $1k from Orem mom’s food stamp card