If you are among the 6.4 million victims of the massive data breach at the S.C. Department of Revenue, you have some choices to make as the first anniversary approaches next month.
The free year of state-sponsored credit-report monitoring with Experian’s ProtectMyID service begins expiring at the end of October.
With aid from the S.C. Department of Consumer Affairs, here are your options to monitor your tax information, including Social Security numbers, stolen in the nation’s largest breach at a state agency:
1. Place a security freeze
How it works: A freeze stops creditors from accessing your credit report without your permission. You must call each of the agencies for credit freezes. You will receive a pass code to lift and restore the freeze.
• Equifax: (800) 685-1111 or www.freeze.equifax.com
• Experian: (888) 397-3742 or www.experian.com/freeze
• TransUnion: (800) 680-7289 or freeze.transunion.com
Free reports: You also can get one free credit report a year from each credit-reporting agency – (877) 322-8228 or www.annualcreditreport .com
2. Get another free year of monitoring from CSID
The skinny: Texas-based CSID was tentatively awarded a one-year, $8.5 million contract to offer free credit-report monitoring last week. Service starts Oct. 24.
A must: Registration with CSID is required – even if you enrolled with Experian. Details are expected in a few weeks.
Coverage: The free Experian service ends a year after you enrolled. Registration ran from October to March. (Example: If you signed up in February, the Experian coverage runs through February 2014.) You can sign up for the free CSID monitoring even if your Experian coverage has not expired.
Second chance: You can register even if you did not enroll with Experian.
Similarities: Monitoring will continue to be available for eligible businesses and children.
Differences: CSID will monitor one credit-reporting agency, TransUnion, instead of all three bureaus, which Experian did in its $12 million state contract. But CSID will monitor payday loans and court and criminal records for fraudulent use of Social Security numbers. CSID also will work to restore eligible ID theft victims’ records even if they are not enrolled in the state’s free service.
Heads up: Experian is seeking paid contract renewals – at a deep discounted price – from the 1.5 million hacking victims who enrolled in the first round.
3. Buy your own credit monitoring and take a state tax deduction
How much: The deduction is $300 for individual tax filers or $1,000 for joint filers or taxpayers claiming dependents.