The holidays can be a very stressful time for people. The rush to get things done the spending and the bills that are looming can really make someone uneasy. But the unfortunate part about it all is there are some who take advantage of others at this stressful time.

If you have a debit card or ATM card, you know that you need a PIN number to access your account or to retrieve money or pay for things at various places. But there are some thieves who are now getting brave and somehow managing to use PIN numbers to steal cash.

Thieves have been using skimming devices to steal those benefits, and EBT users can take simple steps to avoid being victimized such as shielding the PIN pad when putting in their PIN number and changing their PIN number frequently. EBT users should also keep track of their account to see if unauthorized charges have been made. Anyone who thinks their benefits have been stolen can call 1-888-328-6399 for assistance.

"It is unconscionable that thieves are stealing SNAP benefits from some of our most vulnerable New Yorkers," Governor Hochul said. "I urge all EBT card users to stay vigilant and protect themselves, and I thank Senator Gillibrand and the New York Congressional delegation for their efforts to address what has become a national problem."

In the new year, it may be a good idea to take note of all the PIN numbers you have and perhaps change them? Or take the advice of many professionals and get more organized and have a plan to protect yourself and your accounts from theft and scams.

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