Sunday is deadline to sign up for free credit monitoring in SC

By Robert Kittle

If you've filed income taxes in South Carolina, chances are you've been hacked.  And you only have a few days left to protect yourself and sign up for free credit monitoring through the state.

Sunday, March 31 is the deadline to enroll.

The South Carolina Department of Revenue sent notification letters to 3.8 million taxpayers whose personal information was compromised in October's security breach.

Click here for all of the information you need when it comes to your protection, including how to sign up for the free year of credit monitoring. (sign up at Activation code is SCDOR123. Toll-free number to sign up is 1-866-578-5422)

The South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs does recommend that you sign up for the free service. So far, only about 1.4 million of the 3.8 million taxpayers who were hacked have signed up.

Carri Grube Lybarker, administrator for the Department of Consumer Affairs, also encourages you consider putting a free fraud alert on your credit report, and a free credit freeze.

The free fraud alert lasts for 90 days. “We encourage consumers to get that because you can look and see if there are signs of identity theft already,” she says. “The information on your credit report comes from applications, so if your name is spelled differently, if there's an address you don't recognize, that's a red flag.”

“Security freezes are also available under state law, and consumers should consider placing a security freeze on their credit report. You have to contact each one of the credit reporting agencies to place it, but we say it puts your credit report on lockdown, that a business that gets this application can't get access to your credit report without your authorized permission,” she says.

A fraud alert tells creditors to follow certain procedures, including contacting you, before they open any new accounts or change your existing accounts. For that reason, placing a fraud alert can protect you, but also may delay you when you seek to obtain credit. The contact information for all three bureaus is as follows:
Equifax® Fraud Reporting
P.O. Box 740241
Atlanta, GA 30374-0241

Experian® Fraud Reporting
P.O. Box 9532
Allen, TX 75013

TransUnion® Fraud Reporting
Fraud Victim Assistance Division
P.O. Box 6790
Fullerton, CA 92834-6790

Here's the information on credit freezes:

You can place, lift, or permanently remove the security freeze free of charge in South Carolina. When you place a freeze, if someone acquires your personal information he/she will not be able to open new accounts or borrow money in your name. You will need to contact ALL THREE credit bureaus to place the freeze. Keep in mind that you will not be able to borrow money or get instant credit, new credit cards, insurance, cell phone service or other utilities until you temporarily lift or permanently remove the freeze, and that a freeze cannot be placed for children unless a credit file has been opened on them (which is usually a sign of fraud). Contact information for all three credit bureaus is:

Equifax® Security Freeze
P.O. Box 105788
Atlanta, GA 30348

Experian® Security Freeze
P.O. Box 9554
Allen, TX 75013

TransUnion® LLC
P.O. Box 6790
Fullerton, CA 92834-6790

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