Student aid fraud increased 82 percent between 2009 and 2012, according to a new report from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Inspector General.
The government estimates that it may have been defrauded by more than 85,000 federal aid recipients in the three years identified. Illegally received student aid is believed to have surpased $187 million.
CBS Money reports that the increase in online education has made it easier for fake students to borrow money from the government.
“One person can create dozens of identities, and confirming that any one individual is a legitimate student can be difficult,” CBS’ Lynn O’Shaughnessy wrote on Thursday.
The Inspector General’s Office was first alerted to the situation in 2011, and subsequently recommended that the Education Department update its systems hoping to detect fraud and criminal activity.