More than 30,000 South Carolina taxpayers have signed up for a second year of free credit monitoring and identity protection service, which the state is paying for after last year’s hacking at the South Carolina Department of Revenue.
The contract with Texas-based CSIdentity will cost the state up to $8.5 million depending on how many people sign up, according to the state Budget & Control Board (affected taxpayers can visit scidprotection.com to enroll).
However, some taxpayers are having trouble signing up for the service. Part of the reason why is that some of the nearly 1.5 million people covered by Experian’s credit monitoring last year are not eligible for a second year.
According to CSID President Joe Ross, only those South Carolinians whose sensitive information was compromised in last year’s hacking are eligible. That means the 6.4 million taxpayers, their dependents, businesses, and other entities who filed electronically in the 13-year span prior to the 2012 tax season. Previously, the original $12 million contract with Experian offered credit monitoring services for all South Carolina taxpayers who filed from 1998 to 2012.
An SCDOR spokeswoman confirmed the contract was more limited this year. “Only those individuals who filed electronic South Carolina tax returns between 1998 and 2012 may be eligible for CSID identity protection services,” Samantha Cheek wrote in an email to South Carolina Radio Network (emphasis added).
Ross says some of those who experienced trouble signing up were ineligible for the service. The roughly 1.3 million affected taxpayers who live outside the state are also not able to enroll online yet. Letters will go out next month with codes that those taxpayers can use to register through the Web site, Ross said.
Other residents had personal information different from the breached Department of Revenue database, he added.
“Typos do occur. You could’ve moved since SCDOR had its database. You could’ve gotten married and changed your last name,” Ross told South Carolina Radio Network. “If we can’t find you in the database, we ask that you try again or call in and we’ll do a manual look-up to see.”
Those experiencing problems can call the CSID South Carolina Identity Protection Hotline toll free at 855-880-2743.
Ross said the amount his company will be paid depends upon how many people sign up for the service. As a result, he said CSID is trying to get the word out. In addition to the out-of-state letters, the company also plans to run radio and print ads. The company will also make robo-calls to landlines within South Carolina, Ross said. In the meantime, most of the state’s largest power utilities and electric co-ops will also include information about how to sign up in their monthly bills.
Gov. Nikki Haley is actively encouraging affected to taxpayers to sign up with CSID.
Ross said it was a good deal for South Carolinians. “This is a chance to get a free product that the state is covering and paying for,” he said. “It will protect you not only if you were impacted by the (SCDOR) breach, but by any other misuse of your identity anywhere else since then.”
People can sign up with CSID as late as Oct. 1, 2014. But the state-paid services will end for everyone on Halloween of next year unless the legislature funds a third year of monitoring in the 2014-15 budget, at a cost of $6.5 million.