WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators John Fetterman (D-PA), Ron Wyden, (D-OR), and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) today introduced the Enhanced Cybersecurity for SNAP Act to stop criminals from exploiting security flaws in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards used to pay for groceries. Exploiting these flaws allows criminals to steal food benefits from families with low incomes. The legislation would update the cybersecurity regulations for SNAP cards, which haven’t been updated since 2010, to require fraud-resistant chips and move away from outdated, insecure magnetic stripes. This legislation would ensure USDA proactively updates EBT requirements as new technology is available. Congressmen Andy Kim (D-NJ) and Mike Lawler (R-NY) introduced the companion bill in the House.

“SNAP is a critical lifeline for nearly 2 million Pennsylvanians — we must do everything we can to protect it. It’s despicable that thieves are targeting vulnerable hungry families with cyber-crime scams. We can’t let families go hungry because of bad faith actors,” said Senator Fetterman. “As Chair of the Senate Agriculture Subcommittee on Nutrition, I am proud to work across the aisle on this bipartisan, bicameral bill to modernize SNAP and stop criminals from stealing critical food assistance from working families.”

“There’s no excuse for this two-tier system, where families in need are stuck with outdated, easily hackable technology while folks with credit and ATM cards are better protected. Inaction is not good enough for families, not when it can be the difference between a family in need having food for dinner or going hungry,” Senator Wyden said.

“SNAP is supposed to help the person who is food insecure,” said Dr. Cassidy. “It is not supposed to help crooks who steal these benefits. This fights the crooks while preserving the benefits for those most in need.”

Families across the country have had their SNAP funds stolen by fraudsters who are exploiting the lack of security in EBT cards. Abigail M. of Erie, PA, shared her experience with skimming:

“Near the beginning of August 2023, someone stole my SNAP benefits, completely draining my account, leaving me without my usual food money for the rest of the month.”

“So, what do you do when the people on the helpline aren’t able to help and you have no answer on when or if your benefits will be reimbursed?”

Cards like the one Abigail used currently lack the fraud-resistant chips that are built into bank-issued credit and debit cards. As a result, EBT cards are highly vulnerable to a form of fraud known as skimming, where thieves clone the card number from the magnetic stripe on a victim’s card to produce duplicate cards which can then be used to steal victims’ SNAP funds.

The Enhanced Cybersecurity for SNAP Act addresses fraud by directing USDA to update its cybersecurity regulations to ensure SNAP benefits cannot be easily stolen by criminals. Specifically, this bill will require:


As Chair of the Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee’s Subcommittee on Food and Nutrition, Specialty Crops, Organics, and Research, Senator Fetterman is committed to protecting and expanding SNAP. This is the second piece of legislation he has introduced to combat stolen food benefits, in addition to the Fairness for Victims of SNAP Skimming Act he introduced in October, which would allow state SNAP agencies to reimburse SNAP recipients of benefits stolen by skimming. He is fighting for a Farm Bill that works for hungry Americans, which means no cuts to SNAP or other nutrition programs.

A one-page summary of the bill is available here.