More than 1.4 million South Carolina taxpayers took the state up on its offer for a free year of credit monitoring and identity theft protection, according to the Department of Revenue.
The ProtectMyID service from Experian was offered to anyone who filed a South Carolina tax return after 1998, because hackers broke into the Department of Revenue’s computers last year and compromised taxpayer’s financial data.
The state paid $12 million to Experian to offer the ProtectMyID service to the estimated 3.8 million taxpayers whose data was compromised. The deadline to sign up was Sunday, and 1,448,798 people enrolled, according to the state.
So, the state is paying 69 cents per month, per person, for a service similar to the ProtectMyID service that Experian offers the general public for $15.95 a month.
Those who signed for the state’s offer get one year of the service, starting on the date they enrolled. The service includes monitoring of credit reports and identity theft protection services. Some lawmakers have proposed extending the free credit protection, and the Legislature will be looking at that later this year.
Taxpayers who signed up will also have until the end of May to enroll any dependents whose data may have also been compromised, such as minor children whose Social Security numbers would have been listed on tax returns. Experian will notify those who enrolled, if they are eligible to enroll dependents in the Family Secure service, which would also be free for one year.
Businesses were also offered a free credit protection service with a March 31 sign-up deadline, but few businesses enrolled. On Friday, days before the deadline, fewer than 11,000 of the 699,000 eligible businesses had signed up.
Reach David Slade at 937-5552 or Twitter @DSladeNews.