Fact Check: Gift Bags Are NOT Being Given Out To Celebrate '51 Years Of EBT'

Fact Check

  • by: Alexis Tereszcuk
Fact Check: Gift Bags Are NOT Being Given Out To Celebrate '51 Years Of EBT' Shady Link

Are gift bags "to celebrate 51 years of EBT" being sent to anyone who responds to a Facebook post? No, that's not true: The image of the "gift bags" in a post is a doctored photo of emergency food parcels that were given out in the United Kingdom in 2020 during the pandemic. Anyone who types the word "EBT" on the Facebook post, as requested, is served a questionable link that connects to a spam link.

The claim appeared in a Facebook post (archived here) on October 8, 2022. It opened:

𝕋𝕠 𝕔𝕖𝕝𝕖𝕓𝕣𝕒π•₯𝕖 πŸπŸ™ π•ͺ𝕖𝕒𝕣𝕀 𝕠𝕗@𝔼𝔹𝕋, 𝕨𝕖'𝕣𝕖 π•€π•–π•Ÿπ••π•šπ•Ÿπ•˜ 𝕠𝕦π•₯ 𝕒 π•€π•‘π•–π•”π•šπ•’π• π”Ύπ•šπ•—π•₯ π”Ήπ•’π•˜ π•₯𝕠 𝕖𝕧𝕖𝕣π•ͺπ• π•Ÿπ•– 𝕨𝕙𝕠 π•₯π•ͺ𝕑𝕖𝕀 "𝔼𝔹𝕋".

This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:

image (100).png

Facebook screenshot

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Mon Oct 10 18:23:21 2022 UTC)

The image of plastic bags filled with products is from a May 27, 2020, post from the Age UK Camden charity that handed out food parcels during the coronavirus pandemic. The image is posted on their website in an article titled Emergency Food Parcels. The bags do not have the red words "EBT gift Bag":

Screen Shot 2022-10-10 at 11.41.19 AM.png

(Source: Age UK Camden website screenshot taken on Mon Oct 10 18:42:16 2022 UTC)

The story read:

Emergency Food Parcels
In response to COVID-19 we set up an Emergency Food Parcel Service in a matter of days to ensure people who were shielding at home were provided with food and essential items. Our two Health and Positive Living Hubs were swiftly repurposed as donation and distribution hubs. This service quickly became a large operation, delivering 600 parcels a week. And with the help of Camden Council we have now delivered over 5,000 emergency parcels to vulnerable older people. We've received such positive feedback about this service; it has been a lifeline to older Camden residents and it is to the staff at both Hub's credit that we have been able to support so many through this challenging time.

The Facebook page that is listed as a "KNΔ°TTΔ°NG AND CROCHET PATTERNS" site claims that if someone comments "EBT" they will receive a gift bag. Each "EBT" post is responded to with the message to click on a suspicious link where there is purportedly $750 with payment in "just 30 seconds."

Screen Shot 2022-10-10 at 11.15.17 AM.png

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Mon Oct 10 18:43:55 2022 UTC)

That link leads to a page that claims the reader will receive $750 if they provide their email and postal code.

Screenshot 2022-10-10 at 15.44.13.png(Source: Screenshot taken on Mon Oct 10 19:48:07 2022 UTC)

Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) is an electronic system provided by the US. Department of Agriculture's Food and Nutrition Service per their website:

What is Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT)?
Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) is an electronic system that allows a Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participant to pay for food using SNAP benefits. When a participant shops at a SNAP authorized retail store, their SNAP EBT account is debited to reimburse the store for food that was purchased. EBT is in use in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and Guam. EBT has been the sole method of SNAP issuance in all states since June of 2004.

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Lead Stories is working with the CoronaVirusFacts/DatosCoronaVirus Alliance, a coalition of more than 100 fact-checkers who are fighting misinformation related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more about the alliance here.

  Alexis Tereszcuk

Alexis Tereszcuk is a writer and fact checker at Lead Stories and an award-winning journalist who spent over a decade breaking hard news and celebrity scoop with RadarOnline and Us Weekly.

As the Entertainment Editor, she investigated Hollywood stories and conducted interviews with A-list celebrities and reality stars.  

Alexis’ crime reporting earned her spots as a contributor on the Nancy Grace show, CNN, Fox News and Entertainment Tonight, among others.

Read more about or contact Alexis Tereszcuk

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