S.C. revenue department urges hacked taxpayers to wait for free credit protection

The S.C. Department of Revenue recommends that victims of last year’s identity hacking avoid buying credit monitoring services until they see what protection the state soon will provide for free.

The state expects to hire a company next week to provide a second year of credit monitoring, and have those services available to taxpayers by Oct. 24.

The state bought the credit monitoring for $12 million last year from Experian and offered it for free for one year to 5.7 million present and former South Carolina taxpayers whose financial identity information was stolen when a hacker broke into the Revenue Department’s computers.

The state Legislature authorized spending $10 million to expand the service for at least one more year, and asked multiple credit services to bid for the job.

Experian dropped out of consideration and instead offered to extend its service to those who took it last year for about 99 cents a month.

Only 1.5 million of the hacked individual taxpayers took the state up on the free service last year.

In what it characterized as a “public notice,” the Revenue Department recommended that taxpayers avoid accepting Experian’s offer or the offers of any other such companies until they have a chance to see what free protections the state will arrange.

Revenue Director Bill Blume said in the notice, “It is our goal to protect the private information of South Carolina citizens, and we want to ensure that individuals are aware of the state provided credit and identity theft protection available for a second year.”

Those who enrolled in Experian’s service during the first year are still covered by Experian one year from their date of enrollment, the notice said.

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