COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Just a few years removed from a massive data breach in South Carolina, an online study finds our state is still one of the most vulnerable to identity theft and fraud.
Back in 2012, a hacker gained access to taxpayer information from the South Carolina Department of Revenue databases. Computer servers were breached, huge amounts of information were stolen, and tens of thousands of people were affected. In the wake of that crisis, the state created an Identity Theft Unit, within the Department of Consumer Affairs.
Yet in the most recent WalletHub rankings, South Carolina ranks the fifth-worst for fraud and ID theft. The study measured 15 key metrics including complaints, arrests, lost income, and state data disposal laws.
While the state has taken preventative measures since 2012, it would appear more work can be done. The introduction of Real ID next October, is just one measure that may go a long way in keeping your ID secure.
The South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs has plenty of resources for you if you suspect you are the victim of identity theft, everything from placing a freeze on your credit, to submitting the appropriate paperwork to minimize the damage.
As for preventing ID theft, WalletHub offers the following tips:
- Focus on Email Security: Make a creative password that is not easily guessed, and establish two-step verification for this account.
- Sign Up for Credit Monitoring: Credit monitoring is the best way to keep tabs on your credit report. You can get it for free through many financial sites including Wallet Hub and Credit Karma.
- Keep an eye out for online alerts. Establishing alerts for changes to your contact info and other suspicious account activity will serve as a safeguard.
- Use Common Sense Online: Don’t open emails you don’t recognize. Don’t download files from untrustworthy sources. Don’t send account numbers and passwords via email or messenger applications. And don’t enter financial or personal information into websites that lack the “https” prefix in their URLs.
For more on the WalletHub study, click here.