Floridians in need of food stamps are typically not in a position to pay up, but one website not affiliated with the Florida Department of Children and Families may be asking applicants to fork over their cash anyway, WFTV reports.
Getfoodstampsnow.org looks similar to the legitimate food stamps benefit card and the site claims to "bring people closer to stability and closer to self-sufficiency" by simplifying and centralizing application process.
But this unaffiliated site could likely further complicate the process, as it reportedly solicits credit card information from applicants for a state benefit that is essentially free.
"I'll tell you the information we don't ask for is your credit card score and information related to your credit history or credit cards," said DCF spokesman Carrie Hoeppner.
Access Florida is the official DCF website to apply for food, cash and Medicaid benefits, and no fee is involved.
In addition to credit card information, personal contact information, including a home address and email, is also requested.
Since being alerted to the site, DCF has now issued a warning against Getfoodstampsnow.com, which they say can open users to a slew of unwanted solicitations---from "magazines to unverified employment offers".
Getfoodstampsnow.com does have a disclaimer on the bottom of the site's front page, saying, "we provide news and information to visitors seeking to obtain food stamp application kits. We are not affiliated or associated with any state or federal government programs. We do not process food stamp applications," however the site claims it provides applicants with an application kit, eligibility information, details on benefits and frequently asked questions.
WFTV could not find contact numbers for the site and emails were returned as undeliverable.
DCF asked the FTC and the State Attorney General to investigate the site.