In April of 2017, the IRS notified Congress that they discovered a breach in the Free Application for Federal Student Aid system in the fall of 2016. It allowed people to populate the system with the person's tax information. The IRS flagged 100,000 accounts of people who started an application, used in the tool, but then didn't finish it. The IRS will be sending out letters to notify you if you're one of the 100,000 accounts. If you're concerned about possible identify theft, here are some steps to help protect you:
- Get your free credit reports from annualcreditreport.com. Check for any accounts or charges you don't recognize.
- Consider placing a credit freeze. A credit freeze makes it harder for someone to open a new account in your name.
- If you place a credit freeze, be ready to take a few extra steps the next time you apply for a new credit card or cell phone, or any service that requires a credit check.
- If you decide not to place a credit freeze, at least consider placing a fraud alert.
Don't believe anyone who calls and says you will be arrested unless you immediately pay back taxes or a debt--even if they have part or all of your Social Security number, or they say they're from the IRS.
Continue to check your credit reports at annualcreditreport.com. You can order a free report from each of the three credit reporting companies once a year.