“USDA is signaling a new front in our ongoing efforts to stop Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program trafficking,” Agriculture Undersecretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services Kevin Concannon said in a news release from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The USDA has signed data-sharing agreements with Maryland and Virginia, according to the release. The agency said it will use data collected under the agreements and other information-sharing agreements to develop an enhanced monitoring tool for states similar to USDA’s anti-fraud locator using retailer transactions alert system.
The rate of food stamp trafficking has declined from about 4% 15 years ago to 1% today, according to the release.
The USDA monitors 2.5 million electronic retailer transactions every day, which helps the agency target high-risk areas, identify suspicious stores, and implement fraud detection scans.
The USDA oversees about 250,000 retailers that redeem SNAP benefits nationwide, according to the release. States are responsible for identifying and pursuing fraudulent activity by recipients, according to the release. In the next few months, the USDA plans to strengthen regulations that prohibit exchanging food stamps for cash.