Atlanta

Thousands of Georgians say accounts for state-issued benefits attacked by scammers

ATLANTA — Social Security numbers, birthdates and home addresses are some of the information Georgians fear scammers now have.

“Their accounts were deleted,” victim Natashia Jackson told Channel 2′s Ashli Lincoln.

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This comes after thousands of Georgians say their accounts with the Georgia Department of Human Services were hacked or deleted.

“I scroll down and was like, $275 dollars to a Target in Brooklyn, New York, I wasn’t there,” said a Warner Robbins resident.

Possible scammers are accused of depleting Georgians of a one-time payment of $350 through the State’s Cash Assistance Program.

“I don’t care about the Kemp cash, my concern is my Social, my date of birth, my place of residence,” said one resident, who wanted to remain anonymous.

Jackson says her funds have been used in multiple states. Her statements show purchases at an Arizona Walmart and a Domino’s Pizza in Texas.

“We hadn’t even used the thing yet,” said Jackson.

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Channel 2 found out the one-time payment of $350 was issued to Georgians last week. These were funds announced by Gov. Kemp earlier this year. They’re for qualifying participants who are on Medicaid, SNAP, and/or TANF.

We reached out to the Georgia Department of Human Services for a comment.

They sent the following statement:

“The Georgia Department of Human Services (DHS) is urging customers to be on high alert for phishing schemes through their personal emails and third-party accounts as bad actors attempt to exploit the Cash Assistance Program to steal personally identifiable information with illegitimate emails, text messages, social media posts, and unexpected phone calls, among other things.

“The agency has shared these steps - dfcs.georgia.gov/services/cash-assistance-medicaid-snap-andor-tanf-recipients for individuals to recognize and avoid phishing schemes. Individuals are encouraged to take steps to strengthen and protect their account information. DHS customers should maintain strong, unique passwords to their Georgia Gateway accounts, and never share personal account information with anyone who is not a designated caregiver.

“Be advised, DHS will never initiate contact with customers by phone, text, email, or social media asking for Social Security numbers or other personal or financial information related to Cash Assistance Program payments. Any customer who has lost money or believes they have been a victim of identity theft should file a report with their local law enforcement agency immediately, then call customer service at 1-833-907-0683.”

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