Ever since it was announced last fall that millions of South Carolina taxpayers are at risk of identity theft because their personal state income tax information was improperly accessed at the Department of Revenue, calls have poured in at another state agency.
The Department of Consumer Affairs says during the five-month period from November through March, it's toll-free information line (1-800-922-1594) handled 33,000 phone calls – three times the normal amount.
That adds up to some 84,000 minutes of assistance.
Consumer Affairs spokeswoman Juliana Harris says the agency's small staff has been plenty busy, but there is a good side to it.
“People are more aware of what's going on,” Harris tells WVOC.
“They're more able to review their credit reports, see that there's something wrong there, and then get that taken off. Whether it was identity theft or just a clerical error at the credit reporting agencies, it's going to help them have better credit scores and better credit report.”
Some of the callers have reported they're actual ID theft victims, but there has been no way to determine if that might be tied to the DOR data breach.
Meanwhile the consumer affairs agency continues to make available educational materials on everything from putting a security freeze on your credit report to coping with ID theft.
You can find that on the Consumer Affairs website at www.consumer.sc.gov.