The South Carolina Department of Revenue announced Friday that approximately 3.6 million Social Security numbers and 387,000 credit and debit card numbers were accessed by a hacker.
In a statement released Friday, SC Department of Revenue Director James Etter said, "On Oct. 10, the SC Division of Information Technology informed the SC Department of Revenue of a potential cyber attack involving the personal information of taxpayers."
Etter said the SC Department of Revenue immediately began working with state and federal law enforcement and briefed the Governor's office.
According to the statement, investigators discovered that a hacker attempted to access the system several times in August and September. The statement said it is believed the hacker successfully obtained data for the first time in mid-September.
On Oct. 20, the statement said "the vulnerability in the system" was secured to the best of the department's knowledge.
The SC Department of Revenue says most of the credit card numbers that were accessed were protected by encryption that is up to the standards of the credit card industry. Of the credit card numbers accessed, approximately 16,000 were not encrypted.
Deputy Jonathan Smith with the Greenville County Sheriff's Office has experience handling identity theft cases, and said Friday that anyone who thinks they may be a victim, or potentially be a victim, should place a 90-day fraud alert with credit reporting agencies until they receive official notification from the state.
The SC Department of Revenue says anyone who has filed a tax return since 1998 should visit protectmyid.com/scdor and enter code SCDOR123 or call 1-866-578-5422 to see if they are affected. A spokesperson for Governor Nikki Haley said Friday night that the toll-free number being given out is currently experiencing massive call volume, but they were working to staff up the call center.
The state says it will provide those affected with one year of credit monitoring.
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