Facing increasing costs from mail fraud and a burgeoning case load, the Ventura County agency that provides more than $2 million in food stamps to the poor will turn over stamp distribution to a private company next week.
Starting June 1, the county's 14,100 families on food stamps will no longer receive their monthly allotment by mail.
Instead, Continental Currency Services Inc. of Santa Ana will issue recipients plastic, magnetically encoded cards that they can use to pick up their food stamps at one of three county sites.
Continental Currency uses a similar method managing about three-fourths of the Los Angeles food stamp outlets.
Local officials hope the new system will cut down on mail fraud and theft, which accounted for more than $200,000 in lost food stamps from 1989 to 1991.
The food stamp outlets will be located at 67 W. Main St. in Ventura, 2612 Saviers Road in Oxnard and 1849 Erringer Road in Simi Valley. They will be open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.