SSN and Credit Breach: Steps to protect yourself - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Experian extends deadline to enroll in free credit monitoring

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MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – The deadline for South Carolinians to enroll is the free credit monitoring by Experian has been extended to allow more people to take advantage of the offer.

The deadline was set at Jan. 31, 2013. It has now been extended to March 31, 2013.

Eighty percent of the state population is hit by the recent cyber attack, putting millions of Social Security Numbers and Credit/Debit card information at risk. The best way to protect yourself is to be proactive right now.

Breaking it down:

1. Go to ProtectMyId.com/scdor

2. Enter the state-provided Activation Code SCDOR123

3. Enter your SSN

4. Check every tab, scroll through your credit history

5. Report any suspicious activity

6. Continue to monitor your account as you wait for a response from the state

7. The State will determine if you are at risk. If you are, you can keep your membership for free, for one year. If you are safe, you can cancel the service or pay to continue it.

With your SSN and Credit information at risk, hackers can start using your identity for their own financial gain.

"I don't care if your credit is good, bad, or indifferent. You need to take care of this," urges Kathy Graham with the Better Business Bureau in Myrtle Beach.

The State Department of Revenue has set up a site for you to check if you've been hacked.

Log on to ProtectMyId.com/scdor. Because of the high volume of calls, the State has issued one activation code for anyone who has filed taxes in South Carolina since 1998. That activation code is SCDOR123.

"When you go to the site, you'll have to put in your Social Security Number. Then you'll see your credit history," says Graham.

Just putting in the activation code is not enough. You have to take the time to click every tab and scroll through your credit history. Anything that seems suspicious should be reported immediately.

If your information is at risk, you will get one free year of service. If your information is safe, you can cancel it or chose to pay to continue the service.

Because of so many requests, the site has been temporarily down for maintenance on Sunday.

There are other sites that will help you check your credit information:

AnnualCreditReport.com

CreditKarma.com

These sites are not set up by the state, but are accredited by the BBB.

"To ensure it's a safe site, in the browser it should say "HTTPS," if there's no "S" there than its not secure. Also in the window, you can right click, go to properties and check the security certificate and see if its legitimate," explains Graham.

The BBB also suggests that you freeze your credit activity. By doing this, no one can touch your credit. If you decide to buy a car, a house, or purchases requiring your credit use, you can unfreeze it long enough to make the purchase and then place it back on.

If you do not have a computer, you can call 1-866-578-5422.

Copyright 2012 WMBF News. All rights reserved. 

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