At the recent EBT Next Gen Conference in Clearwater Beach, FL over 300 EBT stakeholders came together at this annual event to address the latest issues, concerns and regulations facing government EBT card programs, and fraud identification and governance played a prominent role in that discussion.
Fraud tracking and prevention was a particular focus at the Plenary Session: Front Page Focus-issues and concerns facing the EBT Industry. Four distinguished panelists from state, vendor, consulting, and advocacy organizations participated to delve deeper.
As expected, the federal government is concerned that EBT programs are run properly. Understanding what EBT fraud is and what are the most appropriate tools to promote program integrity are two key elements to tackling this problem.
Insights and validations derived from the EBT Conference
- EBT fraud today consists of eligibility, trafficking and a new type of fraud: identity theft (stolen and synthetic).
- As we talk about tools, we need to match the right data and right problems.
- Stopping fraudulent activity requires boots on the ground, policies and processes to be modernized, and new technology to help.
- We need policy changes that provide more fraud prevention support or funding to help states make this happen.
- Data sharing is important aspect across states and programs. IVR is a significant source of data, it's a sign to watch for data protection efforts.
- Building more tools may not stop eligibility fraud but it will give you indicators to prevent action.
- You should combine detection measures: front-end detection IVR/eligibility and back-end to find other patterns to inform investigators.
“We have zero tolerance on fraud, it's taxpayer money. But we all have limited resources.”
- Colleen Birch, Enterprise Project Manager, at Florida Department of Children and Families
As aptly stated in the session, bipartisan government has two goals, to run EBT programs with integrity and with access. Stakeholders within and supporting government agencies must pool resources, expertise and technology to make this possible.
As this important issue is addressed in Congressional meetings, within USDA FNS teams, across states, and with vendor and partner stakeholders, it’s never too soon to consider what options there are today and how they can help improve EBT program integrity and fraud prevention tomorrow.