Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- News 19 has learned approximately 30 individuals have contacted the Department of Revenue, stating that they have had their identities stolen.

The Revenue Department's spokesperson says the 30 cases of identity theft reported range from unusual activity in bank accounts, to noticing another individual trying to pull their credit report.

"We are keeping a log of individuals who call and believe they are victims of identity theft," said Spokesperson Samantha Cheek.

The Revenue Department has been unable to determine if these cases of identity theft are directly related to the data breach last October. Cheek says in November the DOR and the Governor's Office established a breach resolution team to address these types of concerns.

"We will help them sign up for credit or fraud alerts, help place credit freezes, and if they haven't enrolled in protect my ID we will provide them steps."

The Department's spokesperson says they are close to making two major hires on their security staff. Meanwhile, with tax season upon us, Cheek says DOR has started a new program that will help stop the issuing of fraudulent tax refunds.

"With this new program we hope that we will stop more," said Cheek.

Juliana Harris, a spokesperson for the South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs also says they are seeing an increase of tax refund scams.

"If you get these types of letters saying there might be something going on with your return then follow up on this correspondence."

Senator Darrell Jackson says a subcommittee is working on an amendment to the State's IT Security Bill that would allow citizens a $300 tax deduction to be used towards a future credit monitoring.

"We think that would be attractive. We are also working on, how do we address citizens that this may not apply to," said Jackson.

Senator Jackson says he's encouraged by the bi partisan progress in the state house, but when asked if he believes the state and citizen's data is more secure, "I think we are better off than a year ago because we are talking about it and there is awareness, but coming up with a solution, I don't think we've done it yet."

If you believe you have been a victim of identity theft and would like to speak with someone at the South Carolina Department of Revenue, you are urged to call them directly. Next week the Senate Subcommittee will meet to discuss the amendments to the State's IT Security Bill.

The South Carolina Department of Revenue has issued this press release for those who believe they have been a victim of identity theft:

The South Carolina Department of Revenue has issued this press release for those who believe they have been a victim of identity theft:


S.C. Department of Revenue

The Data Breach Assistance Team (Assistance Team) at the S.C. Department of Revenue (DOR) was established by the Governor's Office and the DOR to assist taxpayers with issues and concerns relating to the Department of Revenue security breach. The Assistance Team is comprised of a director, two designated representatives and two back-up representatives. The director of the Assistance Team has been answering questions and helping taxpayers regarding the breach at the Governor's Office since November 2012. The director is now based at DOR and has trained four veteran DOR employees on how to answer taxpayer questions regarding the breach. These employees have an extensive amount of experience assisting taxpayers. The team members are all current DOR employees. No new employees have been hired for the team.

The Assistance Team coordinates with the Department of Consumer Affairs to provide information to taxpayers regarding identity protection. The Assistance Team also coordinates with Experian to resolve taxpayer issues with enrollment in credit monitoring or fraud resolution.

The DOR has designated a phone line for the Assistance Team specifically to help and address taxpayers' questions and concerns related to the breach or if they believe they are a victim of identity theft. The Assistance Team also helps taxpayers via e-mail and U.S. mail.

The Assistance Team is prepared and available to assist taxpayers if they have questions about the following:

? Data breach notifications

? Experian's ProtectMyID program

? Experian's Family Secure program

? Updates on the State's efforts to continue credit services

Additionally, the Assistance Team is trained to assist potential identity theft victims should they contact the DOR with concerns. The procedures of a typical phone call are below:

If an individual believes they are a victim of identity theft due to the SC Department of Revenue data breach, they should call the Assistance Team.

When the Assistance Team receives a call from a potential identity theft victim, a DOR representative will log their name and details of the incident. The representative will also advise the individual of the following steps available for assistance:

If the individual is already a member of Experian's ProtectMyID program, they should contact Experian at 1.866.578.5422 and ask to speak to a Fraud Resolution Agent. As an enrollee of ProtectMyID, the individual has full access to personalized assistance from a highly-trained Fraud Resolution Agent even after the initial one year ProtectMyID membership expires.

If an individual is not enrolled in the ProtectMyID program, the Assistance Team will connect them with an Experian representative to begin the enrollment process.

We recommend and help, if requested, the taxpayer do the following:

? Place an initial fraud alert on their three credit reports.

? Place a security freeze on their three credit reports.

? Order their three credit reports to review.

? Create an Identity Theft Report.

o Submit a complaint to the Federal Trade Commission.

o File a police report.

? If the individual has fraudulent charges on their bank account, we recommend that they report the charges to their bank immediately.

? If the individual has fraudulent charges on a debit/credit card, we recommend that they report the charges to the debit/credit card company.

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