Government SPLOST 7 | | | Editor

South Carolina tax returns hacked

Friday, Oct. 26, 2012 3:25 PM
Last updated 7:00 PM
  • Follow Government

COLUMBIA — The South Carolina Department of Revenue announced Friday that a cyber attack has exposed 3.6 million Social Security numbers and 387,000 credit and debit card numbers.

Of the credit cards, 16,000 are unencrypted, while the vast majority are protected.

The state is providing one year of credit monitoring and identity theft protection to anyone who has been affected.

“On Oct. 10, the S.C. Division of Information Technology informed the S.C. Department of Revenue of a potential cyber attack involving the personal information of taxpayers,” state Department of Revenue Director James Etter said in a news release Friday.

“We worked with them throughout that day to determine what may have happened and what steps to take to address the situation. We also immediately began consultations with state and federal law enforcement agencies and briefed the governor’s office.”

The agency contracted with Mandiant, an information security company, for help with the investigation, efforts to secure the system and to install tighter security.

On Oct. 16, investigators discovered two attempts to hack the system in early September, and later learned that an earlier attempt was made in late August, according to the revenue department.

The agency said Friday that two other breaches occurred in mid-September, “and to the best of the department’s knowledge, the hacker obtained data for the first time.”

“On Oct. 20, the vulnerability in the system was closed and, to the best of the department’s knowledge, secured,” according to the agency statement.

Gov. Nikki Haley said in a news release that officials are taking immediate steps to protect South Carolina taxpayers.

It’s not the first time South Carolinians’ personal information has been stolen from a state agency.

In April, the S.C. Department of Health and Human Services discovered that an employee working within the Medicaid program had moved the personal information of 228,435 Medicaid beneficiaries into his personal e-mail account.


If you filed a South Carolina tax return since 1998, you are urged to visit or call (866) 578-5422. If your information has been compromised, you can enroll in one year of identity protection service provided by Experian.

Experian’s ProtectMyID™ Alert is designed to detect, protect and resolve potential identity theft, and includes daily monitoring of all three credit bureaus. The alerts and daily monitoring services are provided for one year. Consumers will have access to fraud resolution agents and services beyond the first year.

In addition to the Experian service, individuals are urged to consider additional steps:

• Regularly review credit reports

• Place fraud alerts with the three credit bureaus

• Place a security freeze on financial and credit information with the three credit bureaus.

Other tips from the S.C. Department of Revenue:

• If credit card information is compromised, the best protection is to have the bank reissue the card.

• If you’ve used a credit card in a transaction with the S.C. Department of Revenue, you should check bank accounts regularly to check for unauthorized charges. If any are detected, the cardholder should contact the credit card issuer immediately by calling the toll-free number located on the back of the card or on a monthly statement.

• Consumers should also change any credit card web account passwords immediately when unauthorized charges are detected.

Comments (4) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
Cactus 10/26/12 - 04:33 pm
Credit Report Options

Quickest way to get a credit report is to Google "annual credit report", where you will find a site run by Experian, Equifax and TransUnion, the three major credit reporting agencies. Get a free report once every 12 months.
Otherwise, go to any Wells Fargo bank and get a credit report brochure in the lobby. That brochure has the activation code for the Experian website. It is free. You don't have to be a customer. Go to the site and enter the code.

omnomnom 10/26/12 - 05:59 pm
this is one of the reasons

this is one of the reasons i'll have checks cut from my tax refunds instead of having it automatically deposited.

CarlA 10/26/12 - 06:08 pm
If you filed a paper return

If you filed a paper return it makes no difference. Your SS # is on the SC DOR system regardless. Your credit is just as good as the last time you checked. 1 Year is not enough time.

The state sat on this info for weeks. Why so long?

wagoss 10/27/12 - 01:30 pm
What about GA Residents?

What about those of us that live in GA, but have worked in SC? If you call the number, it says the code is only good for SC residents. It says to wait on the line if you are not a SC resident, but then says they are experiencing longer than normal wait times and tells you to call back later and hangs up! Souldn't I get to decide if I want to wait on hold or not?!?!

Also, who's to say the hacker doesn't just hold on to the SSNs until he/she/they know everyone's free protection period expires? If we take the free 1 year protection, do we lose the right to compensation if our identity is used after that period from this hack? I have a feeling this is oing to turn into some sort of class action lawsuit against the state, but of course they will claim some sort of sovereign immunity or something!

Back to Top
Search Augusta jobs