New Identity Theft and Identity Protection Unit To Launch Soon
On Tuesday, October 1st, a new identity theft and protection unit will launch as part of the South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs.
The identity theft unit is being implemented as part of an identity theft protection law passed at the end of last year’s legislative session, which followed a massive hack attack into the Department of Revenue’s database. The law gave the DOR the go-ahead to create an identity theft protection office, which would add four new employees dedicated solely to protecting South Carolina consumers’ and tax payers’ identities.
“It’s exciting, I think we’ve seen the need for it here after the Department of Revenue breach,” said Marti Phillips, the new program director for the Identity Theft Unit.
“Even before the Department of Revenue breach occurred, our office had received 84 security breach notices that affected more than one million South Carolina consumers during a three year period,” said Carri Grube Lybarker, the administrator for the Department of Consumer Affairs..
The new Identity Theft Unit includes a program coordinator and two administrative assistants.
“During the aftermath of the Department of Revenue breach, we had staff who were handling their day to day job duties, as well as, handling the telephone calls that were coming from consumers,” said Lybarker.
According to Consumer Affairs officials, South Carolina ranks 17th in the nation for identity theft complaints. In 2005, that rank was 36th. Lybarker says that the upgrade in national identity theft rank could be because there are more phishing and identity theft schemes targeting South Carolinians, or it could be because more citizens are aware of the problem and know how to report it.
“Whether it’s somebody who’s just looking for information to prevent and deter identity theft or if it’s for that person who believes they have been a victim or somebody has been subject to the security breach…they can contact us, and we can guide them through the process of mitigating the circumstances,” added Lybarker.
Since the Identity Theft Department will be up and running in less than a week, they will be able to help South Carolina consumers transition from their original one-year-free contract with Experian, to the new contract with CSIdentity.
Is Your Identity Protected?
Identity theft has become the fastest growing crimes in the United States.
According to statistics from federal officials, one in every twenty Americans will fall victim to this crime. The only way to prevent this from happening is by reducing the risk that such a crime will affect you. Identity theft can ruin your name and your credit through erroneous charges and purchases, and even through the obtainment of loans that you neither applied for nor received funds from.
If you think that you have been a victim of identity theft, you should:
- File a police report immediately. This is important as this is evidence to be presented to creditors to claim your rights as a victim of identity theft.
- Report the identity theft to the Federal Trade Commission as this informs law enforcement officials throughout the United States of the pending investigation.
- Register Fraud Alert on your credit reports. This can inform credit reporting services of anomalous activity on your credit for ninety (90) days.
Identity Theft and Credit Card Fraud Can Hurt Your Future
If you have experienced identity theft, you are not alone. The attorneys at the Strom Law Firm can help clear your name and even reinstate your social security benefits. We offer free, confidential consultations to discuss the facts of your case. Do not hesitate to contact us. 803.252.4800.