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Phone scam targets SNAP, Medicaid

COLUMBUS — A new phone scam is going around and this time the target is those who get government aid, specifically those in Ohio who are enrolled in Medicaid or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services said on Tuesday that some recipients of those benefits have received fraudulent calls falsely claiming that their benefits are ending and requesting personally identifiable information such as their Social Security number.

These calls are not generated by the state of Ohio or any of its agencies. The agency said that official communications regarding Ohio SNAP or Medicaid benefits originate from either 844-640-6446 (phone calls) or 614-350-2711 (text messages).

There are numerous variations on the phone scam where someone claims to be with a government agency like the local sheriff’s office, the IRS or Social Security. The goal is to get the unknowing person to give them their Social Security number or other personal identification to use in identity theft or to have that person get a gift card to pay for a supposed fine.

If you are contacted by any real government agency, they will send information through the mail.

The Ohio Attorney General’s Office recommends that you do not send money via wire transfer or prepaid card in response to an unexpected phone call. These are preferred payment methods of scammers because they are difficult to trace or recover once payment is provided.

Individuals who have received these calls are encouraged to report them to the Ohio Attorney General’s office at 1-800-282-0515 or https://ohioprotects.org.