The Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) Operations is warning the public about phone call scams, text message scams, and smart-phone application (app) scams.

If cardholders are contacted about their EBT accounts, they should not provide any personal information; rather they should immediately call the customer service telephone number on the back of the EBT card, (877) 328-9677, or contact their county public assistance office.

Cardholders who have already provided card numbers and PINs to a third party are instructed to call (877) 328-9677 immediately to change their PINs or report their EBT card as lost or stolen.

Scams to be aware of:

  • Phone Number Scam: the telephone number (877) 217-1186 is identifying itself as the California EBT customer service helpline. This phone number is not affiliated with the State of California, and it is fraudulently attaining ETB information from cardholders. Scammers give a telephone number that is close to a real helpline telephone number (maybe one number is different).
  • Text Message Scam: text messages have been used to get illegal access to other recipients’ benefits. Scammers will send a text message asking for personal EBT information. Do not reply to these text messages.
  • Fake Smart Phone Apps Scam: fraudsters are tricking smart-phone users into using fake apps that asks for banking information, ID, password, card number, and/or PIN. These are illegal phone apps that try to get access to recipients’ EBT benefits. The State of California does not offer a smart-phone app for EBT.

Scams offering a “free government cell phone” or “free gift cards” result in recipients’ to give out their personal information, card number and/or PIN. The county and state will never text or call anyone requesting for personal information such as an EBT card number and/or personal identification number (PIN). Cardholders are advised to never give out their personal information on any website or smart-phone app, except the local county website or the EBT Client Website:

Learn more about EBT Scams – speak with a Community Resource Specialist at (408) 350-3200, option 1.