DCF Warns Floridians About Fake Public Assistance Websites

For Immediate Release:
February 22, 2013

Erin Gillespie
Press Secretary
(850) 717-4450

DCF Warns Floridians About Fake Public Assistance Websites
Never give confidential personal or public assistance information to others

TALLAHASSEE—The Department of Children and Families has received several reports this week regarding websites offering to help people apply for public benefits and asking for financial and credit card information.

To apply for public assistance, including Medicaid, cash or food assistance, in Florida, the only legitimate site is www.myflorida.com/accessflorida. Other sites are using ads, sometimes on the side of news articles, offering help filling out applications for public assistance benefits. These links may take you to another site where you may be asked for personal information, including credit card information. DCF, its employees or service providers, will never ask for credit card information.

If you see an ad online offering application assistance for public assistance with a link, do not click on it. Never provide personal information, including credit card information, on an unsecured website. This may allow others to make unauthorized purchases on your credit card, access your bank accounts, or steal your identity.

"We want our clients to safeguard this personal data just like they would any bank or financial information," said Secretary David Wilkins. "Do not give your information out to any unauthorized or unknown website."

Recently, various mobile applications have been produced for smartphones that request confidential information from clients who use Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards. To help maintain the security of your account, never share information about your account with others, especially through websites or mobile applications. Several mobile apps called "EBT Buddy" have been developed for both iPhones and Android platforms and require EBT card and PIN numbers in order to check your balance. Providing this information can put you at risk for fraud.

If you have already fallen victim to this or a similar scam, contact your credit card company and financial institution immediately. You may also choose to file a police report. For more information on identity theft, please visit: www.consumer.ftc.gov/features/feature-0014-identity-theft.

Applicants who want to check their application and eligibility information can go to https://myaccessaccount.dcf.state.fl.us/Login.aspx. Current clients who want to check their EBT card balance can call EBT Customer Service 24 hours a day at 1-888-356-3281 or go to https://ucard.chase.com/locale.action?request_locale=en. In addition, recipients can also contact customer service to set up voice, email and text alerts that will give them regular updates regarding their balance.