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Pueblo County Residents reporting TANF benefits stolen

PUEBLO COUNTY, Colo. (KRDO) - Multiple residents in Pueblo County are reporting their Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) was stolen over the past week. They say they woke up to find hundreds of dollars missing from their benefits accounts they needed to use for groceries, diapers, and formula.

Amanda Welty-Soto is one of those residents. She is a mom and says she woke up on June 2nd to find that five hundred and forty dollars had been withdrawn in cash from her account from a Denver Wells Fargo.

"This is not just like a one-and-done blow, you're like,  this is affecting our livelihoods," Wells-Soto said.

Wells-Soto says that she immediately went to the Pueblo County DHS and filled out a form that showed the theft. She was then told the department would take thirty days to investigate, and it would be six weeks until she saw any kind of compensation. She was also told to report the theft to the police.

KRDO13 Investigates has reached out to the Pueblo County DHS today to get clarity via phone and email to understand how widespread the problem is.

In response to how many people have been affected, Pueblo County DHS said:

Currently, there are 17 adult financial customers (totaling $11,750.94) affected as well as 21 Colorado Works (TANF) customers (totaling $10,532). There are currently 16 Food assistant cases affected (totaling $9,244.75) In total, there are 54 cases and $31,527.69 between cash and food benefits.

In response to how many calls they have received about this issue, Pueblo County DHS had the following response:

Pueblo County Department of Human Services does not track phone calls by type so we cannot determine how many calls we have received on this subject matter.

The Pueblo County Department of Human Services encourages customers to add a layer of protection by downloading the ebtEDGE application on their smart phones.

There are some safety and protection features available on that ap that allow the customer to add additional layers of protection such as the “freeze card function” which would allow the customer to “freeze” the card when it is not in use, thus not allowing anyone else to use it as well.

There is also a “protect my account” tab that allows the customer to block internet and out of state transactions. 

Pueblo County DHS

The El Paso County Department of Human Services says they have seen an increase in benefits theft over the last month. They ask benefits recipients to secure their accounts by changing their PIN and contacting their case worker if they notice any money missing from their account.

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Emily Coffey

Emily is a Reporter for KRDO. Learn more about her here.


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