Fraud & Identity Theft

Fraud & Identity Theft

NOVA’s Financial Aid Office is working to prevent program abuse and increase college-wide awareness of protecting personal information.

Every year, the Department of Education makes billions of dollars in Title IV Funds and Loans available to students to help them pay for higher education. However, students and colleges must satisfy specific eligibility requirements to qualify for these funds. Cases of student aid fraud often involve students making false statements on the FAFSA to the Department of Education and colleges on legal verification documents.

Conflicting Information

NOVA’s Financial Aid Office has the right to verify questionable data or conflicting information that applicants may have submitted inaccurately on their FAFSA. Conflicting information must be resolved before or after Title IV funds or loans have been disbursed. Failure to submit accurate and legitimate verification documentation will jeopardize aid eligibility and could result in a fine and imprisonment.

Schools Must Report Potential Fraud/Identity Theft

Federal regulations require schools to report credible information to the U.S. Department of Education Office of Inspector General (OIG) regarding Federal Student Aid applicants who may be engaging in fraudulent or other criminal misconduct in connection with their financial aid application.

This may include:

  • False claims of independent student status
  • False claims of citizenship
  • Stolen identities
  • False claims of high school completion
  • Signature forgery
  • Unresolved conflicting information
  • False statements of income
  • The intent to deceive to receive Title IV aid

Where should you report fraud?

Report fraud to the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Inspector General (OIG). Tips and complaints from all sources are accepted about potential fraud, waste, abuse, and other criminal activity involving Department funds, programs, or operations.

  • Hotline: 1-800-MIS-USED
  • Website: OIG Hotline
  • Write: Office of Inspector General, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW
    Washington, DC 20202-1510
  • Fax: 202.245.7047

Students Who Are Victims of Identity Theft

Any student who suspects identity theft must take immediate action, whether through an in-person visit or email to NOVA.

  1. You can report identity theft and get a recovery plan at, which you can then provide to local law enforcement or NOVA Campus Police.
  2. Get a police report and email it to Attach a copy of the front and back of your valid picture ID to your email and confirm your phone number and address. An IDVerify staff member will contact you concerning your claim.
  3. Change logins, passwords, and PINs for your personal accounts.
  4. Place a fraud alert and get your credit reports. Contact one of the three credit bureaus to place a free fraud alert. That bureau must notify the other two bureaus.
  5. If you have student loans, report the fraud to your loan servicer.

What are Diploma Mills?

A “diploma mill” is a company that offers “degrees” for a flat fee in a short amount of time with little or no coursework. Degrees awarded through diploma mills are not legitimate and are scams.