SC Looking at Expanding ID Theft Protection for Taxpayers

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Warning About Puppy Flipping (Image 1)
South Carolina could be expanding the free identity
theft protection that it offers.  This is in response to the theft of millions of
taxpayers' personal information from the Department of Revenue last
year.
At the state Budget and Control Board meeting Wednesday
morning, the board will discuss whether to direct the agency to get proposals
from ID theft protection companies.  The coverage would be for up to five
years.
Companies will be asked for proposals that would
automatically transfer people who've already signed up for the free year of
credit monitoring that the state offered right after the hacking, if that's
possible.
They'll also be asked to come up with a way, if possible, to let the
Department of Revenue enroll people who were affected by the hacking, instead of
requiring them to sign up for themselves.
One of the most common complaints from
taxpayers after the hacking incident was that they shouldn't have to go to the
trouble of enrolling in the credit monitoring service.   If the state knew whose
information was stolen, why not just protect those people?
Besides extending the coverage for up to five more
years, ID theft protection does more to protect you than credit monitoring does,
according to the state Department of Consumer Affairs.
Credit monitoring does just that: the company watches
your credit report with the three credit reporting agencies for signs that
someone has run a credit check on you, possibly so they can get a credit card in
your name or take out a loan.
But a lot of the ways an identity thief will use your
personal information is for things that won't show up on a credit report,
because they don't require a credit check.
For example, one of the most common
uses for stolen identities is for someone to get government
benefits.
State department of Consumer Affairs spokesperson
Juliana Harris says of ID theft protection services, “They'll do more things
than just the credit report monitoring. They could do things like place a freeze
on your credit report, which would stop anybody from being to apply for new
credit in your name. Also, a lot of them might check for non-credit type
applications, like utilities and insurance, where sometimes a credit report
isn't pulled.  Also, they might troll Internet sites that are known to traffic
stolen information, looking for your personal-identifying information.  So
they're more intensive than the credit report monitoring
service.”
The ID theft protection service would be free to
taxpayers, but it will cost the state, and therefore taxpayers indirectly.  The
amount won't be known until the state gets proposals back from ID theft
protection companies, if the Budget and Control Board decides to go ahead with
the request for
proposals.
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