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California's EBT System Hacked, Local Accounts Tapped

Someone has hacked into California's welfare system, and at least two-dozen incidents have been reported in the Sacramento area.

Thieves have taken hundreds of thousands of dollars meant for California families.

The Department of Social Services isn't talking Friday, only saying that the private company used to run the foodstamp card system has made some changes. The information that is supposed to only be on these cards and in the files of the company, Affiliated Computer Services.  

The state's Electronic Balance, or EBT accounts, have a preset amount of money in them for qualifying families to use as a debit card at grocery stores, or, unlike food stamps, at an ATM.   Hackers have apparently been able to get the account numbers and the pin numbers of hundreds of people on the food stamps program. 

17 families in Sacramento county, 3 in Yolo county and 7 in Stanislaus county have reported their accounts were tapped.  Some, like George Hillman aren't surprised, "That's how the world works.  I don't like it though."

An alert was sent to the counties, but many district attorneys offices and welfare offices in our area were not aware of it.  People like Savanah wondered why no warnings had been issued directly to cardholders

"is there a way to protect ourselves?"
"Is this people on the inside?"
"How many people are affected?"
"I think we need to know these kinds of things.

So, while taxpayers are wondering where their money is going and those who are receiving benefits are wondering if the money is going to be there when they go to the store, the state's Department of Social Services isn't talking...and it isn't saying when it's going to start. 

The department did issue this statement, "We are aware of the issue that occurred, and have taken steps to address it and mitigate the risk of similar future issues."

Student Granval Hunter, would like to see a better response, particularly for those who may not realized they've been victimized.  "Everybody should know because it might happen to themand they might not know what happened."  The San Francisco Chronicle is reporting 300 cases of theft in Fresno and 200 in Los Angeles.  Every person who had their cards cleared have been reimbursed.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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