Scammers Focus on South Carolinians In Wake of SCDOR’s Hack Attack
South Carolina residents are the target of phishing emails, which use fear about identity theft from the hack attack on SCDOR in October to steal identities.
In October 2012, the South Carolina Department of Revenue suffered a massive hack attack that stole millions of consumers’ information, including 700,000 businesses. The DOR faced heavy criticism in the wake of the hack attack for outdated computers and lack of encryption, although Governor Nikki Haley assured critics that the state used IRS standards when encrypting tax information.
Now, however, a new attack is sweeping through the state – phishing emails aimed at state residents’ paranoia.
The state consumer affairs department says the scammers are pretending to be a credit monitoring service, Equifax. The email asks the reader to check their “declining scores” – disrupted credit history was a huge concern in the wake of the hack attacks.
The state recommends that consumers that receive this email, or similar emails, immediately verify that the email came from the business. The best way to do that is to email the business’s customer service department directly and ask if they sent the email.
Do not click any links in the email, or cut and paste the links from the email into your browser. Just by using the links within the email, phishing software can install itself onto your computer and track your activity online, including online shopping.
WPSA 7 recommends, through their website, that consumers consider the following recommendations for email safety:
· Verify the message. When a business contacts you, especially by e-mail, verify the validity of the message by following up with the business directly—using contact information you know is correct;
· Do not click on any links in the message or cut and paste links into your browser. Phishing e-mails may contain software that can harm your computer or track your activity online;
· Check the legitimacy of the domain or sender’s address. Be suspicious if there are many letters and numbers in the web address or e-mail address. i.e. firstname.lastname@example.org. This does not resemble gmail.com or yahoo.com, etc.
· Note the grammar: “You might be having Identity Theft issue,” is broken English and reputable companies will never email consumers with such verbiage.
· Pay attention to the website link given in the e-mail. Please visit HERE does not show the actual link you will be visiting.
· Use antivirus software and a firewall. Make sure to update them regularly.
South Carolina Begins 3-Year Security Study to Prevent Future Hack Attacks
South Carolina residents unfortunately continue to suffer from scams in the wake of the hack attacks on SCDOR. However, the state announced that in March, it will embark on a three-year evaluation of current technology, and upgrade the state computers.
“It focuses on identifying the current security position of the state and identifying what that future position should look like statewide. It includes assessments of a total of 18 agencies over that 3-year period. It includes developing policies, standards and procedures that the state will follow in security, related to cyber security,” state Budget and Control Board executive director Marcia Adams said on Tuesday, January 29th.
No consulting agency has been chosen yet, but the review will begin on March 5th. The board will look at three state agencies as a cross-section of the government, and report to state lawmakers by May 1st.
“We have different agencies handling their data security in different ways. What the consultant has now said is we need something consistent. What everybody we’ve talked to has said we need a consistent umbrella,” Gov. Haley said after the board meeting.
The Attorneys at the Strom Law Firm Can Help Prosecute Criminals, Including South Carolina’s Hack Attack
Hackers can break into complex security systems any time. If your personal information has been stolen, you could face difficulty applying for social security benefits. The attorneys at the Strom Law Firm can help. If you live in South Carolina and you are a victim of South Carolina’s Hack Attack, the attorneys at Strom Law can help you secure your social security disability and benefits. We offer free, confidential consultations, so do not hesitate to contact us. 803.252.4800.