Scammers on Craigslist are taking advantage of a state program in Florida intended to feed victims of Hurricane Irma.
WSVN reports that several Craigslist posts over the weekend advertised the sale of taxpayer-funded food assistance cards specifically for Irma victims in attempts to make money off the natural disaster.
Some of the posts, which appear to have been removed from the online marketplace as of Thursday afternoon, advertised Food for Florida assistance cards for sale. One advertisement offered a card with $1,300 worth of benefits for $700 while another ad sold a card with $1,010 on it for $900, according to WSVN.
Those who received food assistance in Florida from the storm were livid upon hearing that scammers had been reselling the benefits for cash.
“Shame on you. Shame on you,” said Renita Holmes. “Especially if you’re selling it just to get some extra cash.”
“Makes me feel a little angry because you have people that really need food,” said Larry Thomas.
Florida’s Department of Children and Families, which oversees the Food for Florida program, said it is investigating these “instances of potential fraud.”
“We take our responsibility to be good stewards of taxpayer money very seriously, and we will investigate all instances of potential fraud,” the agency said.
The agency added that those found guilty could lose eligibility for food stamp benefits permanently and face criminal charges.
Craigslist, in its prohibited items section, says that it bans “food stamps, WIC vouchers, SNAP, WIC goods, or governmental assistance” from being sold on its website and asks users who see these postings to report them.
Unfortunately, it seems that food stamp scammers have turned to Craigslist to resell benefits for years. In 2013, when food stamp usage reached an all-time high, scammers used Craigslist to resell benefits in states such as California, New Jersey, and other states across the country.