One aspect of welfare fraud and abuse is particularly maddening -- recipients misusing or selling Electronic Benefits Transfer cards.
Just this year, the Legislature passed a bill banning the use of EBT cards in gambling and pari-mutuel facilities as well as adult entertainment establishment. The measure was sent to Gov. Rick Scott this week.
This no-brainer legislation should have come a long time ago.
Just as egregious, though, is welfare recipients selling their EBT cards for less than face value, often at 50 to 60 cents on the dollar.
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All the seller has to provide the buyer is the card's personal identification number to make purchases like a debit card.
Retailers are not required to verify the identity of the cardholder, a major flaw in the system.
The Manatee County Sheriff's Office conducted a big undercover sting three weeks ago that bagged dozens of suspects on welfare fraud charges -- both sellers and buyers of the cards.
This week MSO deputies briefed state officials on the sting and suggested stronger laws to prevent this abuse -- by ensuring the person swiping the card is the one granted the taxpayer-funded welfare benefit. Cards with picture identification was one idea along with a verification requirement of retailers.
The state should adopt these ideas. Taxpayers have been angry about welfare cheats for years, demanding reforms. Like this year's legislative action, this is a no-brainer, too.