I know you share my outrage with the ongoing situation at the Department of Revenue. I have been assigned to co-chair (with Sen. Billy O’Dell, R-Abbeville) a Senate Committee to investigate our state’s historical data security breach. This committee is committed to digging as deep as necessary to find out what happened and what we need to do moving forward.
My first and foremost concern is all taxpayers, individuals and businesses, seek and receive all of the protection and assistance currently offered through Experian, their bank and their credit card company. I encourage all of you, if you have not already done so, to communicate with each of these and to ensure that you are fully aware the best course for protecting yourself and your family.
The best way to enroll in the protection with Experian is online. Log on to www.protectmyid.com/scdor enter code: scdor123. You may also call Experian at 1-866-578-5422. You will not be charged for the first year, however, we are exploring options to extend this coverage. When this type of information gets into the wrong hands, lifetime protection is essential. I encourage businesses to enroll in protection offered by Dun and Bradstreet. This may be done at www.dandb.com/sc. Some constituents are going a step further by freezing their credit with the major credit agencies. If you wish to do this, here is their contact information:
My second concern is that the facts surrounding this incident seem to change too frequently. We first were told that this was an international criminal and had nothing to do with internal activities or policy, but then we learned that the data was accessed with SCDOR employee credentials. Those two are not necessarily incompatible, but does open more questions. We were told that SCDOR could have done absolutely nothing differently to protect us. We then found out, though, that not only was our data not encrypted but also that SCDOR refused a free data monitoring service offered by the state’s IT department. When I asked the SCDOR director how much encryption would have cost, he replied “not very much”. I am very displeased that we continually are discovering that not only could more have been done but also that it would have been at minimal, if any, cost. Failure to do everything possible to protect taxpayer data simply is inexcusable.
My third concern is what we are doing to address this issue going forward. The state does maintain databases in other agencies that have sensitive information. I look forward to hearing from other agencies as to what they are doing to maximize the protection of our sensitive information. I will update you as that effort moves forward.
The Senate Finance Committee had an emergency meeting this week, and I have another meeting next week to make sure appropriate action is taken.
I want to stress again that everyone needs to take the available steps to protect themselves and their families. The easiest way is online, so please inform anyone you know that may be unfamiliar with computers, to seek help. Please contact me if you need any more information or if you have any difficulty with the credit monitoring service offered by Experian.
As the information of this crisis is changing daily, I will be giving updates on this website.