Monday, Oct. 29, 2012
NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. -- Gov. Nikki Haley says South Carolina taxpayers have until Jan. 31, 2013, to register for free credit monitoring and identity theft protection.
This follows Friday's news that international hackers gained access to millions of taxpayers' Social Security numbers and credit and debit card numbers.
Anyone who has paid taxes in South Carolina since 1998 is encouraged to register for free credit monitoring and identity theft protection.
The state is providing one year of free credit monitoring to victims through Experian. To call Experian, dial 1-866-578-5422. You may not be able to get through right away, as thousands are calling in this week. The call center is open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. EST Monday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST on Saturday and Sunday.
According to a news release from the Governor's Office, the Experian call center received approximately 455,000 calls and approximately 154,000 sign-ups as of Monday morning. Gov. Haley says the average wait time is 12 minutes and that 300 operators are working to take calls. She says they are in the process of hiring more.
You can register online at protectmyid.com/scdor. To register, you need to enter the access code, SCDOR123. Note: You need to click the button that says "Click to redeem your activation code" instead of just pressing enter. Georgia residents can register online with the same access code.
If you have signed up, you will hear back from the credit monitoring service through email or postal mail within a few weeks to find out if you are affected.
Children of victims will be covered under a family plan. You will receive the information on this from the credit monitoring service after you sign up.
Gov. Haley promised all of holes in the South Carolina system have been fixed.
There has been some backlash about the timing of the announcement of the hacking, which came out on Friday.
South Carolina Law Enforcement Division Chief Director Mark Keel says the state did not announce the cyber attack earlier because they believed it compromised taxpayer information even more.
"By allowing us the time that we had to conduct our investigation, we believe that this information is better protected than it would have been otherwise," he said in a news conference Monday.
According to the Governor's Office, here's what the state is offering to those affected by the cyber attack:
- A free copy of your Experian credit report.
- Daily 3 Bureau Credit Monitoring: Alerts you of suspicious activity including new inquiries, newly opened accounts, delinquencies, or medical collections found on your Experian, Equifax® and TransUnion® credit reports.
- Identity Theft Resolution: If you have been a victim of identity theft, you will be assigned a dedicated, U.S.-based Experian Identity Theft Resolution Agent who will walk you through the fraud resolution process, from start to finish.
- ExtendCARE: Full access to the same personalized assistance from a highly-trained Fraud Resolution Agent even after your initial ProtectMyID membership expires.
- $1 Million Identity Theft Insurance: As a ProtectMyID member, you are 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.
If you want to take an extra step, you may want to consider freezing your credit, which will prevent someone from trying to get a card in your name. Here is who you need to call if you want to do this: Trans Union (888-909-8872), Experian (888-EXPERIAN) or Equifax (800-685-1111).
Gov. Haley's news conference: