Carri Grube Lybarker, left, Dept. of Consumer Affairs administrator, announces the new ID Theft Unit, directed by Marti Phillips, right.
By Robert Kittle
South Carolina has now officially launched its new ID Theft Unit at the state Department of Consumer Affairs, a four-person unit focused on preventing ID theft through education and helping victims.
Unit director Marti Phillips says, "We're going to provide education and outreach to consumers across South Carolina about what identity theft is, the steps that consumers can take to protect themselves, and then what they need to know if they're the victim of identity theft."
Almost every taxpayer in South Carolina was affected by a hacker stealing personal information last August from the state Department of Revenue. The state is paying for credit monitoring through Experian, and plans to enter into a contract with another company, CSID, to provide ID theft protection and resolution services for at least another year.
But the ID Theft Unit at Consumer Affairs will help anyone, not just those affected by the DOR breach.
Carri Grube Lybarker, administrator of the state Department of Consumer Affairs, says, "Identity theft complaints were the number one complaint that was received by the Federal Trade Commission last year."
While the DOR breach affected more than 6 million state taxpayers and businesses, Consumer Affairs had been notified of 81 security breaches before that one, affecting more than 1 million state consumers, and 36 more security breaches since the one at DOR, affecting 77,000 South Carolinians.
To contact the new ID Theft Unit, you can go here and click on "Identity Theft Resources," or you can call toll-free 1-800-922-1594 Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.