S.C. taxpayers worried about their credit rating after a hacker stole their personal information from a state agency will need to sign up a second time for credit protection services, this time with an Austin-based company that has a history of managing massive breaches of personal data.
The state Budget and Control Board announced Monday that it has awarded an $8.5 million contract to CSID, accepting its proposal from among five the state received in its first competitive bidding process to provide identity-theft protection services.
Barring protests, CSID will begin offering services on Oct. 24. Those services would expire on Oct. 31, 2014 – unless lawmakers agree to pay for another year.
“We encourage all eligible individuals to continue to protect their personal identifying information by enrolling with CSID,” Bill Blume, director of the state Revenue Department, said in a news release. “In a world where technology is ever-evolving, CSID offers more than credit protection services by providing the added protection of identity-theft monitoring and credit restoration to best protect the citizens of South Carolina.”
To enroll, you will need to give CSID your name, date of birth, address, email address and Social Security number. Company officials say they have top-of-the-line security in place to protect that information, including encryption, firewalls and security audits.
CSID say it will take between three and five minutes to enroll online. You also can enroll over the phone. Once you enroll, you will not need to enroll again if lawmakers agree to extend the contract with CSID for another year.
Enrolling will get you a $1 million insurance policy that covers you if you lose money or have to take time off from work to deal with any identity-theft issues.
CSID will monitor the Transunion credit bureau every day and let you know if someone is using your information to damage your credit. The company also will monitor other records, including payday loans, court and criminal records, even sex offender registries – letting you know if someone tries to register you as a sex offender.
If you don’t enroll, you still would be eligible for a service that CSID calls “full-service identity restoration.” That means if you do get a blemish on your credit report, CSID will work with the relevant institutions – banks, local governments, etc. – to clear that blemish from your record.
The state will pay $6 for every person who enrolls for the coverage. But the contract ensures the state will not pay more than $8.5 million. If lawmakers agree to pay for the program again next year, the state will pay $5 for every person who enrolls, or a maximum of $6.5 million. The contract allows the state to extend the contract for one year up to four times.
Victims of the breach now are covered under a $12 million emergency, no-bid contract with Experian that Republican Gov. Nikki Haley helped negotiate last year.
One of the key differences between that contract and the new contract is that Experian monitored all three major credit bureaus, while CSID only will monitor Transunion. Critics, including some Democrats, have said this makes the protection weaker.
State officials said they did not receive any qualified proposals when they asked for monitoring of all three major credit bureaus. And, according to CSID’s proposal, monitoring all three credit bureaus would have cost the state $33 million, instead of $8.5 million.
“Governor Haley’s main goal has always been to provide the very best in protection and monitoring at the least possible cost, and that is exactly what the state will be getting with CSID,” Haley spokesman Doug Mayer said. “CSID not only monitors credit, they provide total identify protection and fraud detection, key points in the effort to keep our citizens’ confidential information secure.”
CSID, founded in 2005, worked with Texas in 2011 when it inadvertently exposed the personal information of 3.5 million people. That same year, CSID also coordinated credit protection services for 35 million people in 45 countries after a data breach on Sony’s PlayStation network.
Reach Beam at (803) 386-7038.