As reported in this weekend’s Post & Courier, a cyber attack on the Department of Revenue has compromised the Social Security numbers and other tax data of 3.6 million state taxpayers and the credit card numbers of an additional 387,000! If you have filed a state tax return since 1998 (whether electronically or by paper), your data was likely stolen.
“State officials discovered the breach Oct. 10, but did not go public until Friday. Haley and State Law Enforcement Division Chief Mark Keel defended the delay, saying investigators needed time to gather evidence and try to catch the hacker. So far, no one has been implicated in the cyber-attack.”
While that does not necessarily mean that your personal information will be misused, it is best to take precautions as if it will. While state officials are investigating the theft, there are steps you can take to protect yourself:
1. Enroll In Free Credit Monitoring and Identity Protection. The state is offering this service free for one year by calling 866-578-5422 or online at protectmyid.com/scdor and using the code “SCDOR123”.
2. Place a Fraud Alert on Your Credit File. Doing so will alert potential creditors that you may be a victim of identity theft. Call Equifax at 877-576-5734, Experian at 888-397-3742, and TransUnion at 800-680-7289.
3. Regularly Monitor Your Credit Report.
4. Place a Security Freeze on Credit Records or Get Further Advice. Contact the SC Department of Consumer Affairs at 800-922-1594 weekdays during business hours.
Note, all South Carolina business owners and their financial officers should check with the company’s tax and accounting firms to ensure that all electronic returns filed were encrypted and sent from a secure server. Once the data reaches the Department of Revenue, it is up to it to secure the data. The Department of Revenue reports that this theft affected both e-file and paper-filed tax return data for all taxpayers who have filed a return since 1998.
State officials said they don’t believe South Carolina was specifically targeted.