Food stamp recipients are turning the government handouts into quick cash with ads on Craigslist, despite efforts to stem fraud.RELATED: Tepid U.S. Job Growth Could Delay Fed Tapering Plans
The federally-funded grocery assistance coupons -- which are issued by states in the form of debit cards under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) -- are being sold on the online bulletin board as well as auction sites like eBay. FoxNews.com found several offerings at Craigslist sites around the country, where the sellers offered the welfare benefits at large discounts from face value.
“If you need food. This is not a gimmick or game,” read one posting from Philadelphia. “Please let me know, I have food stamps for sale..... Serious Replies only!!!”
“I have $500 worth and it costs $350 cash. No I will not do half!” read another posting from the Atlanta area. “I don't need to sell. If you would like to get an extra $150 to $175 in grocery and pay no taxes and can see the benefit that you will still be saving then email me or call me and we can arrange the whole deal as soon as you like.”
Those who are desperately hungry are also taking to the website, offering cash for the stamps.
“DO YOU NEED SOME QUICK CASH?? -- $100 (atlanta),” read the title of one such post, under which the buyer offered: "If you get Food Stamps and need some extra cash then hit me asap,” reads the post.
In another posting from the Trenton, N.J., area, the seller claims that he will have a $100 EBT card available on Nov. 1 for $60.
Contacted by FoxNews.com and asked about the legality of such a transaction, the seller cryptically responded: "Lol are u serious is the govt legal of course but I hve a customer Good day [sic]."
The coupons are not supposed to be transferred, and Craigslist's policy lists them among the items that are not allowed to be sold or bartered on the site. But unless someone flags such a post, there's little the sites, which operate in small, medium and large markets around the country, can do. Critics suspect sellers either don't need them any more because they have found work, or simply want to exchange them for cash so that they can buy drugs or other items that are not permitted under the rules of the program.