MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - After a cyber-attack on the Department of Revenue exposed millions of Social Security numbers last year, the deadline for free credit monitoring is approaching. But many people believe one year of monitoring is not enough.
"It's one of those things you say, 'if you don't see it, it doesn't exist.' But it does and it can ruin your life," explains Amy Underwood with LegalShield.
People who have had their identity stolen say it is scary to think someone could be out there pretending to be them.
"There could be someone writing bad checks in your name, and you don't know until one day you get pulled over for a speeding ticket and the next thing you know, there's a warrant out for your arrest," says Angel Caraballo, a victim of identity theft.
Caraballo monitors her credit activity constantly.
"Now, I have student loans, credit cards, just so much going on with my bills. You have to check all of that to make sure nothing was stolen and no one is out there pretending to be you," says Caraballo.
She believes, like many other taxpayers, that it will take much longer than a year to monitor her credit.
"One year isn't enough of free service," she says.
A new proposed bill by Senator Kevin Bryant wants to provide 10 years of state-paid credit monitoring for taxpayers.
Right now you can sign up for a year of free service with ProtectMyID.com or there are also paid programs.
"You see something strange, they automatically check your SSN, your medical records, even your drivers records," explains Underwood, a representative for LegalShield.
Experts say it is your decision between wanting to pay for someone to do the work for you, or spending your own time trying to monitor your credit.
"Knowing you have a problem is key, but what do you do about it if you have a problem?" suggests Underwood.
Paid services will help you work through all the steps to restoring your credit and identity to what it was prior to it being stolen.
"It's like identity insurance," explains Underwood.
Whether you sign up for the free service or want to get a paid program, experts urge you to start monitoring your credit now.