The company hired by the state to provide a free year of credit monitoring for hacking victims has offered a second year of the service at a slight discount.
The South Carolina Department of Revenue (SCDOR) is currently paying the credit agency Experian $12 million to help protect 5.7 million South Carolinians whose information was compromised when a hacker stole files from a SCDOR database in September. 935,235 people had enrolled in Experian’s service by mid-day Thursday, according to the Governor’s Office. Those affected have until the end of January to enroll.
Mark Kapczynski, the vice president of strategy for Experian Consumer Services, told state senators that the company recently offered South Carolina a second year for $10 million.
“We’ve made an offer to the state to extend all… services for a flat rate fee of $10 million for the year,” Kapczynski told senators, “The state currently has not responded to our offer.”
That would include the “Protect My ID” service, which the state has already purchased. That includes credit monitoring to detect unusual credit activity which may prove fraudulent, along with up to $1 million in coverage for any losses, and lifetime credit resolution for victims of identity theft. The “FamilySecure” service offers the same plan, but with up to $2 million in coverage and unlimited requests for a credit report among family members (a person otherwise gets only one free credit report per year).
In all, Kapczynski says it would have cost those roughly 935,000 South Carolinians more than $150 million combined if they had bought the monitoring services on their own. He said the company will offer a 50 percent discount for all enrollees to renew again next year if the state decides not to purchase the service. That would be about $80 per individual and $120 each for the family version.
However, the subcommittee chairman State Sen. Kevin Bryant (R-Anderson) said he thought lawmakers would try to get a second full year of coverage for those affected citizens. “I’m convinced that every South Carolinian needs lifetime protection,” he told South Carolina Radio Network after Thursday’s hearing, “Certainly, it’s much less expensive if the state does the bargaining… taxpayers are still paying for it through their tax dollars, but it would be much cheaper than if they did it on their own.”
Kapczynski said Experian has found that only about 5 percent of its customers renew their membership after the first year. He predicted similar participation among South Carolinians if lawmakers do not pay for an extension.