‘They need to reimburse us.’ East Patchogue woman says her EBT card was empty before using it

An East Patchogue woman says the balance of her Electronic Balance Transfer (EBT) card was wiped clean before should even had the chance to buy groceries.
Catherine Casaletto says the card she has from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) was declined twice. She was told the card she just received had no money on it.
When Casaletto called New York state’s fraud hotline, it said her money was spent in the Bronx. She told News 12 that she does not know how she is going to eat and is pleading for state help.
“They need to find out whose doing it, they need to reimburse us – not a year from now,” Casaletto says. “What are people going to do for the month of February for food?”
Suffolk County police tell News 12 that someone reported a similar fraud claim recently.
The county executive’s office says 250 complaints are reported each week and sent to New York state.
"This phishing scam has been an ongoing issue which started in NYC more than one year ago. Suffolk sees about 250 complaints per week, which are then forwarded to the state, which administers the program, after being recorded by the county. Those who need assistance can call EBT Customer service at 1-888-328-6399 or go to www.connectebt.com,” said Mike Martino, director of communications with Suffolk County Executive Ed Romaine.
In a statement to News 12, Darren O'Sullivan, assistant public information officer with the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance said, "OTDA takes seriously any report of benefit theft and continues to work closely with local, state and federal authorities to provide any information they require that will help bring perpetrators to justice. New Yorkers who have had their SNAP or public assistance benefits stolen electronically can fill out a simple application to have them replaced. All EBT card holders, however, should remain vigilant about these scams and take several basic precautions to protect themselves, including carefully inspecting point-of-sale devices, changing their PIN regularly, and reviewing transaction history frequently."