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Electronic EBT Theft & Organizer Toolkit

In 2019, the problem of electronic theft of EBT funds became a front and center issue for many California officials. At the time it was estimated that monthly losses increased from less than $10,0000 to an average of $36,000. That number has now reached $10 million a month in benefits theft.

Many Californians continue to have their benefits stolen from their EBT cards. This typically happens in two ways. Either the person has had their EBT card “skimmed” with electronic equipment that picks up and takes your information. Or people are scammed by an unauthorized third party by giving out their EBT card number and/or personal identification number.

“I’ve been eating one meal a day for the last 3 days. I need help figuring out where my money went,” said Angelica Anon in email, who did not want to disclose her real name. She shared that she is unhoused and living in her car at the moment and was struggling to use her card at the grocery store. She had tried multiple times to use it but each time she tried she was told her balance was at zero. She knew she was in trouble. For certain, she had $223 dollars remaining on the card. She was there in person to speak to someone. She wasn’t the only one and she won’t be the last. This is an ongoing obstacle in the lives of many Californians.

Community members often reach out for assistance on getting stolen funds back. As community activists / organizers we are always looking for ways to share and popularize information. Share this wherever community convenes:

With electronic theft of EBT benefits impacting many Californians who need access to food, what can we do?

Briefly here are some things you should consider:

  1. Report the theft – You have 90 days to report the theft. Report right away!
  2. Cancel your card – contact EBT Customer Service Hotline at (877) 328-9677 (open 24 hours a day) to cancel.
  3. File a claim – File the “EBT 2259” claim form with the county within 90 days of electronic theft.
    1. You will need to identify the transactions that were illegal.
    2. The EBT Hotline can get you a 60-day transaction history.
    3. BenefitsCal has 3 months
    4. EBT Edge has 365 days
    5. Or you can ask the county to help you identify the illegal transaction(s)

For more detailed information, please see guide below:



EBT Electronic Theft Resources (