South Carolina Revenue Department Hacked

south carolina revenue department lose SSNs to hackers

South Carolina Revenue Department Officials Report a Huge Security Breach

The Department of Revenue in South Carolina reported a massive security breach where millions of SSN’s were stolen along with 387,000 credit/debit card numbers, 16,000 of which were not encrypted and therefore vulnerable to abuse and credit fraud. These data all related to South Carolina taxpayers and were accessed by offshore hackers. The hackers had been attempting to gain access for 2 months from August to September 2012 during which they breached the system and stole data. The system was made secure again on October 20th.

The Charlotte Observer suggested that he thieves had also stolen name and address details associated with tax returns. Together this information would be easily usable in fraud attempts. The stolen data might even have included Taxpayer Identification Numbers (TIN’s) – the South Carolina Revenue department declined to comment on this. Top information security firm Mandiant are handling the security issues.

South Carolina Department of Revenue Director James Etter stated: “From the first moment we learned of this, our top priority has been to protect the taxpayers and the citizens of South Carolina, and every action we’ve taken has been consistent with that priority,” Etter continued: “We have an obligation to protect the personal information entrusted to us, and we are redoubling our efforts to meet that obligation.” See the full press release by the South Carolina Revenue Department here.

If you have been affected you should follow these guidelines:

    1. If you filed an individual or state tax return in SC at any time since 1998 you could be affected. To find out, contact us here at Silver Tax Group and we will investigate whether your tax, personal or payment method records have been breached or not. The line to call the Revenue Office in South Carolina is (866) 578 8422. Those affected are being offered a one year identity theft protection combined with a credit monitoring service that will report and prevent any unusual activity on your accounts.
    2. If you know you have been affected the following steps should be taken:
    3. Any credit or debit cards that are affected should be canceled and replacements requested from the issuing bank or financial institution.
    4. Enroll in the Experian Identity Theft Protection program provided by the South Carolina Revenue Department.
    5. Make sure you monitor all your credit statements and reports for discrepancies or unusual activity.
    6. The IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit (IPSU) need to be contacted at (800) 908-4490. They will require the completion of Form 14039, an identity theft affidavit. This affidavit requires the taxpayer to specify that they were the victim of the South Carolina Department of Revenue breach in Oct 2012. They will place an identity marker on file. At the end of the year, around December, an Identity Theft Personal Identification Number (IP PIN) is sent out to the taxpayer. The PIN generated through the Form 14039 procedure protects them from identity theft during the refund cycle of a tax filing – basically preventing anyone else from claiming the refund.
    7. We can contact the 3 credit bureaus and place a security freeze and fraud alerts on credit information

Equifax: (888) 766-0008

Experian: (888) 397-3742

TransUnion: (800) 680-728

Note: Once a Form 14039 has been completed, the taxpayer will not be able to obtain a refund without the requisite PIN number. As tax experts we recommend that all wage and income transcripts are examined carefully for 2 years as the information leaked to these hackers could be misused to gain employment or commit further fraud attempts using SSN numbers and other information. Examining W-2 and 1099 information can quickly determine if this is happening.

What to do next:

It is not known to what extent information was actually breached so there could be further repercussions publishes updates as they become available. Anyone who filed a return  at the South Carolina Revenue Department since 1998 should Visit and use the activation code SCDOR123. For those concerned about their situation related to the hacking of the South Carolina Revenue Department, you can talk to us or contact their office direct at (866) 578 8422. Further updates are also available from the SC Association of CPA’s.

If you need professional assistance call Silver Tax Group today at 1-855-900-1040


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