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'It's a hacker's paradise': Woman warns of issues she's experienced with Georgia cash assistance cards

A Marietta woman said her cash assistance cards have been hacked and her money was stolen.

ATLANTA — More than 1.2 million Georgians have claimed their $350 from the state's cash assistance program, yet every day 11Alive receives emails and phone calls from viewers who said they are having problems using the card -- or they think they've been hacked.  

Meanwhile, the Department of Human Services warns there are tons of phishing schemes out there and plenty of bad actors who will do whatever they can to steal your money.

'It's been a hacker's paradise. They found out millions of people were gonna get $350," said Patria who received five cards for her family. "I paid a couple of bills with it things like that, got gas at QT."

It's money the Marietta family started using right away, transferring the funds from one of the cards to her phone.

"You just got to know where to use it and whatnot," said Patria.

However, this week she started on another card, spending $20 at the drugstore Wednesday night -- which should've left $330 more to spend.

"I went back and tried to buy something online and I was declined," she said. "I was like, 'declined?'"

Her balance had dropped to $9.08.

"So, I scrolled down and it was four payments for $79.99 had come out and it said Blizzard," said Patria.

It's a company she'd never even heard of. She called the Department of Human Services to report it and finally got through.

"I have to wait for the four payments to go all the way through then I can call back and they're gonna dispute it," said Patria.

She also keeps getting emails every day with passcodes that looked legitimate. Turns out, they are. DHS said a different email with a code is sent every time she logs on with a different device or browser - as a security measure. But, repeated emails could indicate that her information was stolen. 

"A lot of people are like, 'Oh, it's free money,' but once you get it and you have it, you're being stolen from," said Patria.

Here's what you need to know to protect yourself:

  • DHS will never reach out to you asking for any personal or financial information related to this cash assistance program. 
  •  If you suspect fraud, it's important to first call the police. You'll want to file a report there before you call DHS. 
  • The DHS customer service number for this cash assistance program is 1-833-907-0683.


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