FAFSA Breach Puts 100,000 at Risk for ID Theft

April 15, 2017

This month the IRS testified before the Senate Finance Committee that its Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) tool had been compromised by hackers. The IRS stated that hackers posed as students and used this tool to access tax returns from 100,000 tax payers. Data gained from these returns was then used to file for tax refunds. The IRS is notifying taxpayers whose tax records were compromised and assisting them with identity theft protection.

 As we all know, a tax return is full of personally identifiable information, making any victim vulnerable to identity theft. If you receive notification that your tax records were a target of this breach, here are steps to take right away to help safeguard your identity. 

  • Contact the three Credit Reporting agencies – Transunion, Equifax, and Experian – to place a fraud alert on all your account. This should also be done for the student as well, since their Social Security Number is also at risk.
  • Notify your bank and credit card companies of your situation.
  • If you normally do online banking or manage your credit card accounts online, place alerts on each account so that you will be notified by email or text of any transaction, based on the parameters you set.
  • For additional assistance, go to identitytheft.gov.

Source: The New York Times

 For more information on this data breach, check out Up to 100,000 Taxpayers Compromised in FAFSA Tool Breach, I.R.S. Says or Hackers Use FAFSA Application to Steal Tax Info.

 If you have questions about this scam or would like to report another scam, please call your BBB at 256-533-1640 or go to the BBB Scam Tracker. To find trustworthy businesses, go to bbb.org.