DES MOINES, Iowa (KCAU) — The Iowa Attorney General’s Office is warning the public about a text message scam involving Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards.

According to a release, both the Iowa AG Office and the Iowa Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) have recently received reports from Iowans of text messages that indicate their EBT cards are locked and include a phone number to call for assistance.

Iowa HHS reminds Iowans that they should never share EBT card numbers or PIN numbers, and that no government agency will request personal information by text message.

The AG’s Consumer Protection Division provides the following tips for Iowans regarding spam text messages:

  • Do not reply or click on links to any unsolicited messages.
  • Don’t respond to spam text messages, even to ask the sender to stop contacting you. Responding verifies that your phone number is active and that you are willing to open messages, which may lead to an increase in the unsolicited text messages you receive.
  • Immediately delete text messages that ask you to confirm or provide personal information.
  • If you think the message might be real, contact the company using a phone number or website you know is real. Not the information in the text message.

This scam is particularly serious because those who receive benefits rely on these funds to feed their families. However, benefits lost due to fraudulent, or scam activity cannot be replaced.

Scammers send messages to thousands of random phone numbers at a time. There is no indication EBT or SNAP households are being targeted directly.

If you received a spam text message regarding a locked EBT card, please file a report with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).