Experian offers SC residents discount on ID theft protection, but free option may be available

The company the state hired last year to protect your identity for one year at no cost to you is offering to do so for another year for 99 cents a month.

But if taxpayers wait another month, they’ll likely get the protection for free for another year, courtesy of the state.

The state paid $12 million for the free protection for taxpayers last October after discovering that a hacker had broken into computers at the Department of Revenue and made off with the personal identification information, including Social Security numbers, of some 5.7 million current and former state taxpayers.

Despite that free offer, just 1.5 million of the affected taxpayers took the state up on the offer, which was provided by Experian, a global credit, business and consumer services company.

Instead of extending its contract with Experian for another year, the state decided to put it out for bid, and is willing to spend up to $10 million.

Greg Young, a spokesman for Experian, said Monday that the company decided not to participate in the bidding.

If all of the 1.5 million taxpayers who signed up last year with Experian took the deal Experian is now offering them, the company would take in about $18 million.

Revenue Director Bill Blume said Monday that his department and the Budget & Control Board are reviewing proposals that were sent to all companies that provide such services. He said the state expects to have a provider in place by Oct. 24.

Bobby Harrell, Speaker of the House, told The Post and Courier recently that he anticipates that the state may have to pay for the taxpayer protection for years.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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