Food stamp programs supplement low-income families' food purchases. Food stamps are not meant to pay for all of the family's purchases, but to assist it in buying food so the family can more easily afford healthy food. Some people attempt to get food stamps when they are not eligible, while others sell them for cash or attempt to use them to buy ineligible products such as tobacco or alcohol. Fortunately, most people are honest, but if you run across a fraudster, you can report him to the Tennessee Department of Human Services. If a person is caught defrauding the food stamp system, he can go to prison for up to five years or be fined up to $10,000 as well as lose his food stamps.
Write down any fraudulent acts you personally witnessed as soon as possible after witnessing them. If you overheard someone bragging about food stamp fraud, write this down as well. Sign and date your written statement after you have described everything you witnessed. If you have knowledge of someone falsifying his income statements or other documents to obtain food stamps, make copies of relevant documents such as bank statements or pay stubs.
Call the Tennessee Food Stamp Fraud Hotline at 1-800-342-1784. Tell the representative everything you know. You may report anonymously if you wish.
Ask where to send documentation and send it as soon as possible after finishing the call. The Tennessee Department of Human Services will investigate your claims and take action if necessary.
Jack Ori has been a writer since 2009. He has worked with clients in the legal, financial and nonprofit industries, as well as contributed self-help articles to various publications.