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Residents should sign up for credit monitoring

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Notification has begun for those affected by state computer breach

By Chris Sardelli

Blake Faulkenberry isn’t worried about the possibility of becoming an identity-theft victim.

Three days after hearing about the information breach at the S.C. Department of Revenue, Faulkenberry registered for free credit monitoring. Since then, he said there’s been no notification of any suspicious activity.  He also monitors his bank statement online daily.

“I haven’t seen anything strange happen,” said Faulkenberry.

“I don’t really stress too much about that particular thing,” he said. “It’s not going to keep me awake at night.”

But for those who haven’t signed up for free monitoring, S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley suggests you act as soon as possible.

Haley updated residents and the media last week about a statewide data breach that was first announced in late October.

She first told the public that a hacker accessed 3.6 million Social Security numbers and more than 385,000 credit and debit card numbers. Information from up to 657,000 businesses was also exposed.

Officials still haven’t released information that specifies how the breach happened.

If you’ve filed a state income tax return since 1998, you are advised to sign up for free credit monitoring.

On Friday, Nov. 30, Haley said taxpayers affected by the breach who claim minors as dependents have begun receiving notification by Experian.

The notifications – either via e-mail or letter – give instructions about how to sign up for the company’s Family Secure identity-monitoring service, which is free of charge for a year.

“We continue to work with law enforcement, legislators and great corporate citizens like Experian to ensure that South Carolina taxpayers have the very best protection available,” Haley said. “If you claim minors as dependents, you should absolutely take the time to sign them up for identity and credit monitoring through Experian’s Family Secure.”

The notifications, which began Thursday, will be staggered during the next few weeks.

“So South Carolina taxpayers should not be concerned if they do not receive a notice right away,” read a press release.

Family Secure enrollment ends May 31, 2013.

Anyone who has filed a South Carolina tax return since 1998 is urged to visitwww.protectmyid.com/scdor or call 1-866-578-5422 to determine if their information is affected. The taxpayer can immediately enroll in one year of free identity-protection service provided by Experian.

The call center is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Taxpayers have until the end of January 2013 to sign up.

Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp. is offering CreditAlert to South Carolina businesses that have filed a tax return since 1998. 

The product will alert customers to changes taking place in their business credit file.

Business owners can visit www.dandb.com/sc/ or call customer service toll free at 1-800-279-9881 to register or for more information.

South Carolina businesses can sign up for Business Credit Advantage at www.smartbusinessreports.com/SouthCarolina.

 

Contact reporter Jesef Williams at (803) 283-1152