PHISING EMAIL SCAM ALERT
The Office of Financial Aid is alerting students to an active phishing campaign directed at student email accounts. These fraudulent email messages appear to be coming from the billing office of the school where the student is attending and may appear to be legitimate.
The scheme targets financial aid disbursements and refunds by accessing student account information. It does this by changing student direct deposit information to a bank account controlled by the scammer. As a result, financial aid refunds intended for students are diverted to the scammer.
Below is an example of a recent phishing email which the U.S. Department of Education has shared with us:
Subject: Updated billing statement issued
Please view and confirm your UPDATED 2018 bill.
Bills should be paid in full by the due date, or you should enroll in one of the payment plan options found in your portal. All payment plans have an enrollment fee of 40.00 per semester. Late fees of 15.00 will be assessed for each missed due date. Information showing how to enroll and payment plan FAQS can be found under the student/parent portal. Students may grant proxy access for parents/guardians to their accounts so current and future statements, payment plan options, and other information is available electronically.
If you have any questions concerning your billing statement, please contact the XXXXX. Remember, your portal is available 24 hours a day to make paying your bill more convenient.
Please note that Charter Oak State College will never use email and request that you reply with your student password, full Social Security number, or other confidential personal information. If you receive an email that you believe is suspicious, please do not respond to the email or click on any links or attachments. We recommend that you report it to our help desk by following this link:
IRS DATA RETRIEVAL TOOL (IRS DRT)
IRS Get Transcript Online Unavailable for New Users
The IRS recently suspended for new users the availability of the Get Transcript Online service which provides an immediate PDF version of a tax transcript. Users who had already established an account with the IRS for using this service are still able to login to the Get Transcript Online service. While there is no estimate for how long the tool may be unavailable to new users, Federal Student Aid (FSA) is in communication with the IRS and understands that they are working to resolve the issue as quickly as possible. In the meantime, several other methods to obtain a transcript from the IRS, including IRS Get Transcript by Mail, are available as an alternative for those FAFSA applicants needing to obtain an IRS Tax Transcript for use in the verification process for the 2018-2019 award year. Additional information will be provided as it becomes available.
The IRS Data Retrieval Tool will not be available for the remainder of the 2017-2018 FAFSA processing seasons. This means that FAFSA applicants will not be able to prefill the answers to certain tax questions by transferring data from their federal tax returns.
Applicants completing a 2017-2018 application should manually enter 2015 tax information (NOT 2016 TAX INFORMATION).
If necessary, a summary of a 2015 tax return, called a tax return transcript, can be downloaded from the IRS with proper identity verification. Additionally, the "Get Transcript by Mail" option can be accessed online or by calling 1-800-908-9946.
For IRS tax return filers who are selected for verification, in lieu of obtaining an IRS tax return transcript, a signed paper copy of the 2015 IRS tax return will be accepted to verify income and tax data. This applies to both the 2016-2017 AND 2017-2018 processing and verification cycles.
Beginning October 1, 2017, the IRS DRT will be available for students to use with the 2018-2019 FAFSA application. Additional security and privacy protections have been added to address identity theft concerns. Due to these concerns, tax information transferred from the IRS onto the FAFSA application won't be visible to applicants. Students will see "Transferred from the IRS" in the appropriate fields as shown below: