Late last month, it was reported the South Carolina Department of Revenue’s computers were hacked.
Anyone who has filed a state tax return since 1998 is potentially a victim of this cyber identity theft. It includes Social Security numbers and credit card numbers for more than 3.6 million people. It includes dependents and minor children. It also includes business’ Federal Tax ID number for small business owners.
Every South Carolinian needs to take a few steps to protect your identity, your credit. South Carolina is providing free protection to residents.
The state is providing one year of free credit monitoring through Expedia. Residents have until Jan. 31, 2013, to sign up, but please don’t wait. It is important to act immediately.
Here are the steps you need to take to protect yourself:
• Online: Sign up at protectmyid.com/scdor and enter code SCDOR123. Then follow the instructions.
• Phone: Call 866-578-5422. The Experian call center is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday-Friday and from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. Representatives will help you determine if you would like to have an online service or a U.S. mail alert set up.
Once enrolled, Experian’s ProtectMyID Alert is designed to detect, protect and resolve potential identity theft, and includes daily monitoring of all three credit bureaus. The alerts and daily monitoring services are provided for one year, but you will have access to fraud resolution agents and services beyond the first year. This free 12-month ProtectMyID membership includes:
• Credit report: A free copy of your credit report.
• Daily three bureau credit monitoring: Which will alert you of suspicious activity, including new inquiries, newly opened accounts, delinquencies or medical collections found on the three major credit reports.
• Identity theft resolution: If you are the victim of identity theft, you will be assigned a dedicated, U.S.-based Experian ID theft resolution agent who will walk you through the fraud resolution process.
• ExtendCARE: You will receive full access to personalized assistance from fraud resolution agents even after the initial ProtectMyID membership expires.
• $1 Million Identity Theft Insurance: You will be immediately covered by a $1 million insurance policy that can help you cover certain costs including, lost wages, private investigator fees and unauthorized electronic fund transfers.
• Dependents: You also will be notified – by email or letter in the coming weeks – about how to sign up for a “Family Secure Plan” if you claim minors as dependents.
For business owners, Dun and Bradstreet is offering free protection. Visit dandb.com/SC to sign up or call 800-279-9881.
I, and my fellow House Republicans, are committed to investigating and determining how this cyber-attack happened. The state is working right now, with security experts and the Secret Service, to better protect our computers and sensitive information. But in the meantime, it is critically important every South Carolinian get protected.
S.C. House Rep. Tommy Pope, representing Dist. 47 in York County, can be reached at 803-656-5554 or 803-984-6616 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.