Fraud in Postsecondary Distance Education Programs (fraud rings) Reporting Change

Author
Office of the Inspector General
Subject
Fraud in Postsecondary Distance Education Programs (fraud rings) Reporting Change

As a follow up to the GEN-11-17, Fraud in Postsecondary Distance Education Programs, we would like to inform the community of a change in how to report fraud rings to the Office of Inspector General (OIG). The OIG fraud ring email address is no longer in use and will be disabled. The OIG and FSA have also made changes to the fraud ring reporting spreadsheet.

Fraud Ring Reporting Spreadsheet

The Department’s OIG has modified the spreadsheet used to report fraud rings. Attached is the updated Fraud Ring Reporting Spreadsheet that now requests the reason for referral of each student in the fraud ring.

We appreciate the continued efforts that institutions routinely take to protect the integrity of the federal student aid programs. Evident by our recent work with the community on program integrity, we are committed to be a strong steward of the taxpayer’s investment in the student assistance programs and to ensuring program integrity. As such, the Department is determined to update our process on distance education fraud rings, and we ask for your continued partnership to help reduce fraud in federal student aid programs. It is imperative that institutions comply with all existing statutory and regulatory requirements to disburse aid only to eligible students, to identify and resolve discrepancies in student information, to ensure that all requirements regarding "regular student" status are met, and to report any suspected fraud to the Department's OIG. In doing so, your efforts will help curb program abuse and ensure that federal student aid is provided to students as intended.

Updated Web Address

The Department’s OIG updated how it receives and processes suspected fraud rings complaints. Institutions now submit fraud ring complaints through the Department’s OIG encrypted complaint web portal at the URL address https://oighotlineportal.ed.gov. The portal provides consistency and improves communication delivery. Because the portal is encrypted, institutions no longer need to encrypt submitted documents.

How to Report Fraud Rings Using the Portal

  1. Once in the portal, select the option for fraud reporting.
  2. Fill in the spaces for your contact information. Note: your social security number is NOT required when filing a fraud ring complaint.
  3. On the Alleged Violator page: select Individual Information and fill in the spaces with the suspected fraud ring leader’s information. If you do not have a suspected fraud ring leader, choose one subject and fill in their information.
  4. In the space provided on the Allegations page, fill in a brief summary of the allegations and any suspicious activity.
  5. Attach the Fraud Ring Reporting Spreadsheet and submit the complaint.

Contact Information

For questions, please contact our hotline at 1-800-MIS-USED (1-800-647-8733). Please leave a message and your call will be returned.

Attachments

Fraud Ring Reporting Spreadsheet in Excel Format

Last Modified: 08/20/2020