Your FAFSA info might have been hacked last year

Wesley Leblanc

Hicks Hall where One Stop student financial services is located. Photo courtesy of Chartwells

Up to 100,000 people’s FAFSA information may have been breached last September, according to an article by CNN.

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen told CNN that hackers could have used someone’s personal information to fill out the FAFSA application. The “Data Retrieval Tool” would then fill in the tax information needed for the application. That tool is what makes renewing your FAFSA so easy each year.

Hopefully you know enough about taxes to know that if someone possesses an individual’s tax information, they have a strong grip around their finances. The frauds could potentially file a false tax return, a.k.a. receive money that should be going to someone else.

This database hack was discovered last September, but because 15 million people use the FAFSA system, the IRS chose to keep it available for use.

The automated tool found in the FAFSA system was finally shut down last month to stop any more potential threats to the system and its user’s information.

The IRS is flagging accounts who opened up the application, used the Data Retrieval Tool, but didn’t finish filling everything out, according to CNN. Koskinen said that while some of these actions might have been authentic, it is more likely that these actions are an indicator of a hack.

Side note: Who steals from college kids? We’re poor enough as is.

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