MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – The SC Department of Revenue was recently hacked, putting millions of Social Security numbers and thousands of Credit/Debit cards at risk.
But it isn't only your finances that are at risk. So is your criminal history, and your child's future.
Your social security number is used to set up bank accounts, apply for college, and to get a driver's license. It is used to authenticate who you are, because it is assumed that you are the only one that knows it.
With the recent security breach, an unknown hacker could now have that number and access to your identity. They can set up loans in your name, can apply for jobs using your identity, and can even put your retirement at risk.
Experts are urging you to take this seriously, because a stolen social security number doesn't just affect your credit score.
"If you have small children, and you've filed taxes since 1998, their Social Security Number is on there, too," explains Kathy Graham, the President and CEO of the Better Business Bureau in Myrtle Beach.
This means your child's identity is also at risk.
"If you have a 6-year-old, and their credit has been compromised, you're not going to know it until that child is going off to college or starting to initiate their credit," says Graham.
That means your child may not be approved for a future loan for college, cars, houses, etc.
You need to start monitoring your child's credit report now. This also includes teenagers who had their first part-time or summer job since 1998.
By putting in their social security number, you can check that report by following the steps listed here.
By signing up on ProtectMyId.com/scdor you can use the state-provided activation code (SCDOR123) to check through your credit history. The state will notify you if your information has been compromised. If it is, the service will be free for one year. If it is safe, you can choose to cancel the service or pay to continue it.
"Just because you put the code in, doesn't mean you're in the clear. You need to click through every single tab to check every report," says Graham.
The BBB stresses that your Social Security Number cannot be replaced, it is the base of your identity.
"People say I have bad credit anyway, why should I be concerned. Are you going to be concerned when this person goes out and gets a drivers license in your name and commits a crime? Who are the police going to be looking for? They're going to be looking for you," says Graham.
The Department of Consumer Affairs outlines other ways to minimize the negative effects of the breach:
- Place an initial fraud alert on your credit report. This is a free service you can get by calling one of the Credit Reporting Agencies.
- Place a security freeze on your report. This is also a free service, but you have to notify all 3 CRAs. You will get a PIN to use when you want to lift the freeze.
- The phone numbers are the same to place a fraud alert and to place a security freeze on your credit report:
- Perform these steps for any SSN you think might be at risk. This includes any children or people now living out of state that may have filed taxes in SC since 1998.
- Track your finances. Review your bank statements and credit reports regularly.
- For more information visit their website.
There are other sites to check your credit history:
These two sites are both accredited by the BBB. You can also call the Department of Revenue at 1-866-578-5422.