Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

DCF: New Crackdown on Food Stamp Fraud

Florida officials say they'll soon be relying on state-of-the-art technology to ensure that food stamps are issued to people who really need them. 

Crooks who try to steal from the state's welfare system will be in for a nasty surprise.

The Department of Children and Families says Florida will become the first state in the country to use new technology to crack down on food stamp and other welfare fraud.

Florida paid out roughly $27 billion  last year in food stamps, temporary cash assistance and other welfare programs. And although DCF says the Sunshine State is ground zero for identity theft, the agency declined to say how much welfare money is typically lost to fraud.

But with newly-obtained federal funds, Florida will now pilot a program that uses computer technology similar to what credit card companies rely on to zero in on fraud. 

Applicants will be asked a series of personalized questions that potential thieves won't be able to answer. Florida officials say the program will be launched within the next few months. 

They expect it to become a national model.