HELP FOR SOUTH CAROLINA ID THEFT VICTIMS
In the aftermath of the South Carolina Department of Revenue data breach, legislatures are trying to mitigate harm to identity theft victims. In October, Governor Haley announced the tax returns of 3.8 million residents and over 700,000 businesses were stolen from the Department of Revenue’s servers by hackers. This is the largest state agency data breach in US history. One state representative, Gilda Cobb-Hunter, a Democrat from Orangeburg, proposed a tax credit for identity theft victims.
Here are 4 steps South Carolina residents should take:
The first step in determining whether you are a victim of identity theft is to order your free credit report. Click HERE to download the form to order your free credit reports from the 3 nationwide consumer reporting agencies. Consumers should request their reports by mail, and should not request their reports by phone or on-line.
Once you receive your reports, review them carefully. An incorrect address, public record, account or Social Security number variation could indicate that someone is using your personal identifying information. Also, review the inquiry section closely to make sure that you authorized each of the companies listed to pull your credit. Inquiries that you did not initiate may be a red flag that someone is trying to get credit in your name!
Credit report errors should be disputed directly with the credit reporting agencies. The credit reporting agencies will notify the furnisher of the information of your dispute. Your dispute should be in writing and sent certified mail. Click HERE for a free sample credit report dispute letter. Keep a copy of your letter for future reference. The credit bureau must reinvestigate your dispute, notify the furnisher of the information of your dispute, and send you the results of the reinvestigation.
You should contact a lawyer who handles identity theft claims. Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), consumers have the right to free credit reports, dispute credit report errors, and to sue credit reporting agencies and creditors who fail to perform reasonable investigations. Credit bureaus who do not block fraudulent information in your file within 4 business days of receipt of an identity theft report also have liability under the FCRA.
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