The state of South Carolina is offering relief to the millions of residents who were adversely affected by the computer hacking crisis.
Approximately 3.6 million Social Security numbers, 387,000 credit and debit card numbers and 657,000 business tax filings were exposed in a cyber-attack against the state Department of Revenue. The incident is being described as the largest ever cyber-attack against a state tax department.
The state has issued a Special Alert urging anyone who has filed a South Carolina tax return since 1998 to sign up for a menu of identity theft protections, including Daily Credit Monitoring, Identity Theft Resolution, identity theft insurance, and a free credit report.
A class-action lawsuit has been filed against the governor, the Department of Revenue, and a cyber-security firm, alleging a failure to protect sensitive personal information.
Following are some ways you can protect yourself against cyber-hacking and identity theft:
- Be aware of scams. Never give out your social security number or other identifying information to people you do not know. If someone calls saying they are telephoning on behalf of the state of South Carolina, hang up. State officials are not making any calls to residents.
- Never open suspicious email or attachments. Steer clear of unknown web sites.
- Regularly monitor your credit reports.
- Regularly review your bank statements.
- Place fraud alerts with the three credit bureaus when you suspect your identity has been compromised.
- Use secure passwords for online transactions.
- Be extremely wary of giving out your Social Security number.
For additional information on protecting yourself against identity theft, contact the South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs at 1-800-922-1594 or visit www.consumer.sc.gov and click the “Identity Theft Resources” button.
- S.C. Department of Revenue http://www.sctax.org/NR/rdonlyres/E5A231EF-8A05-40FE-AA36-17453FF2C795/0/Urgent_New.pdf
- S.C. Department of Revenue – Security www.sctax.org/security.htm
- Charleston Post and Courier http://www.postandcourier.com/article/20121106/PC16/121109507/1177/cyber-security-company-among-new-defendants-added-to-sc-hacking-lawsuit