FAIRFIELD COUNTY — South Carolina residents have until March 31 to register with the Department of Revenue in a program to help keep them from falling victim to identity theft.
Any person who paid state taxes from 1998 to present was put at risk due to a cyber attack that was carried out on the South Carolina DOR in mid September 2012. To enroll in the free service, call 866-578-5422 or go online to www.protectmyid.com/scdor. At that site, use activation code scdor123 to register.
Registering with Experian will include one free year of the following:
• Credit report: You will get a free copy of your Experian credit report.
• Daily credit monitoring: You will receive alerts regarding key changes to your credit report, including new inquiries, newly opened accounts, delinquencies, or medical collections reported on your Experian, Equifax and TransUnion credit reports for one year.
• Identity theft resolution: If you have been a victim of identity theft, you will be assigned a dedicated, U.S.-based Experian Identity Theft Resolution Agent who will walk you through the fraud resolution process from start to finish.
• Identity theft insurance: If you have been a victim of identity theft, you will immediately be covered by a $1 million insurance policy that can help you cover certain costs, including lost wages, private investigator fees, and unauthorized electronic fund transfers for one year.
• ExtendCARE: You will get full access to personalized assistance from a highly-trained Fraud Resolution Agent even after the initial one year ProtectMyID membership expires. Dependents over age 18 can enroll in the program as can dependents who are minors. A $1 million insurance policy helps cover costs such as lost wages, private investigator fees and fees levied for unauthorized electronic transfers.
DOR advises resident to never give out their Social Security number or other identification to people who contact you if you do not know them. The state will never call or otherwise contact those affected to ask for personal information.
Other steps the state advises include:
• Monitoring credit reports and bank statements on a regular basis. Every 12 months individuals are entitled to one free credit report from each of the major credit reporting companies and requests can be staggered so that one receives one credit report every four months with a little advance planning. For more information call 1-877-322-8228 or visit www.annualcreditreport.com.
• Placing fraud alerts at one of the three credit bureaus, Equifax fraud reporting, Transunion fraud reporting or Experian fraud reporting. Fraud alerts require creditors to contact a customer before opening any new accounts or changing existing accounts.
• Placing a security freeze on financial and credit information with the three bureaus. There is no charge to lift the freeze off of one’s finances, which is required if one is to borrow money, obtain instant credit or get a new credit card. The upside is that no accounts can be opened nor could money be borrowed in one’s name should one’s identity be stolen.
(Sources: www.consumersc.gov, protectmyid.com and www.sctax.org)