I had previously reported a curious statement by the Department of Education and the suspension of the online Data Retrieval Tool when applying for student loan financial aid using the online FAFSA form.
At the time the concern was the “issue” was “relatively isolated,” but a Washington Post report says 100,000 people are impacted.
The IRS Commissioner has just stated the data breach could impact up to 100,000 taxpayers as they applied for federal student aid.
The Washington Post reports, “Security concerns about the data retrieval tool first emerged in September at the IRS, according to the agency head. Officials learned that with relatively little stolen information, identity thieves could pretend to be students, start the financial aid application, and give permission for the IRS to populate the form with tax data that could then be used for fraudulent returns. The IRS alerted the Education Department in October, the same month that the FAFSA application went live. The agencies monitored the situation, but were reluctant to disable a tool that helps families avoid tedious paperwork.”