Haley tells Cabinet agencies to aid in outreach
COLUMBIA — Gov. Nikki Haley wants her Cabinet agencies to get involved in outreach to South Carolina residents affected by the massive breach of a Department of Revenue database.
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Training: Charleston security analyst John Stengel will host identity-theft protection training sessions on Wednesday. The sessions will cover the signs of identity theft, steps you can take to reduce your risk, protecting children’s identity and free tools to better protect yourself. The sessions will be at 10 a.m., 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. at the Spring Hill Suites in North Charleston.
Symposium: S.C. Treasurer Curtis Loftis will hold a symposium on fraud detection and prevention in government programs from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. on Nov. 13 in the Lexington room of the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center. Loftis said the event was being planned before the database breach was announced by the state last week. He said state agencies, universities and local governments will be invited to the symposium.
By the end of Tuesday, the agencies are to submit their plans to Haley’s office, the governor said at a Cabinet meeting Thursday afternoon.
ENROLL IN FREE CREDIT MONITORING AND IDENTITY PROTECTION: The state is paying for taxpayers to receive identity-protection services from Experian for one year. South Carolinians can enroll either online or by phone. To register by phone, call 1-866-578-5422. The hotline is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekends and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays. To register online, go to protectmyid.com/scdor and use the code “SCDOR123.” At some point, that generic code may not work, and residents will have to call the hotline number.
PLACE A SECURITY FREEZE ON CREDIT RECORDS, OR GET ADVICE: Call the S.C. Department of Consumer Affairs at 1-800-922-1594 weekdays during business hours to get advice or to ask that your credit records be frozen at no charge. Or go to http://bit.ly/TL6iD6 for more information.
REGULARLY CHECK YOUR CREDIT REPORT: Get free credit reports from the three largest credit-rating organizations by going to annualcreditreport.com.
PLACE A FRAUD ALERT ON YOUR CREDIT FILE: Residents can request “fraud alerts” to let potential creditors know they may be a victim of identity theft. Call either Equifax at 1-800-685-1111, Experian at 1-888-397-3742 or TransUnion at 1-800-680-7289.
FOR BUSINESSES: Starting at 8 a.m. Friday, Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp. will offer its CreditAlert credit-monitoring product for free to South Carolina businesses that have filed a tax return since 1998. Visit DandB.com/SC or call customer service toll free at 800-279-9881.
“That is probably my biggest stress right now, getting as many people signed up as quickly as I can,” she said.
A legal hurdle will limit the scope of what the agencies can do to help.
Thad Westbrook, an attorney from the law firm retained by the state to navigate legal issues surrounding the breach, said state employees can’t be the ones entering residents’ personal information for the monitoring services.
That could put such information at risk again, he said.
As of Thursday, about 653,000 people who have paid state taxes since 1998 had called Experian, which is providing a year of free credit monitoring and a lifetime of fraud resolution for residents.
About 521,000 people have signed up with Experian.
Fraud monitoring for businesses provided by Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp. will be offered starting at 8 a.m. today.
According to Haley and California-based Dun & Bradstreet, the company knew South Carolina was in trouble and looking for help, so it called and offered its services for free. The company’s CreditAlert service normally costs businesses $19.99 per month.
“We had made some calls out to try to find out what our options were, and we were actually working with Experian at the time to see what they could do for business,” Haley said Thursday. “This was just an added bonus.”
Now Experian is also going to offer free credit-monitoring for businesses, the governor said.
Haley said following the meeting that she is not concerned about the impact the breach could have on business recruiting efforts. As many as 657,000 South Carolina businesses had information in the hacked state database.
“Businesses have been going through this for years,” she said. “I mean those businesses are used to being given bad checks, having people trying to get into their system.
“We hear more from businesses in terms of intellectual property and things like that being stolen. So they are actually not as concerned because they deal with this all the time.”
Haley said she has yet to hear from a company concerned about the breach.
Brendan Kearney contributed to this report.