South Carolina allows hackers access to your bank account

In one of the most embarrassing blunders made by state officials, South Carolina has failed to protect the private information of its tax filiers. Social security numbers and bank account numbers are now in the hands of hackers.

By failing to properly encrypt this information, hackers now have full access to your private information. So far, state officials have focused on the free identity theft protection that they are providing to affected residents. To access this, simply visit protectmyid.com/scdor and enter the code SCDOR123 to check your Experian credit report for free. This does not prevent identity theft. Instead, it just allows you to discover if you have been a victim.

Thieves may be less concerned with committing identity theft though, since many tax returns also have routing and account numbers for your bank accounts. This would be the case if you either requested that your tax refund be direct deposited, or if you allowed for your tax bill to be debited from your bank account.

This information is normally encrypted when businesses and government agencies practice safe data storage techniques. However, Governor Haley acknowledged that safe practices were not followed by outgoing Executive Director Jim Etter and his staff. As a result, some 3.3 million bank account numbers are now in the hands of hackers.

Once a hacker has your bank account information, there is little that you can do to prevent them from raiding your accounts. If you want to permanently prevent this from occurring, then you may need to change your bank account number if it was used on your tax return.

South Carolina officials are actually in violation of notification laws in other states where some of the affected tax filers actually live. Notifications will not go out within the required 45 days following the breach as is required by those states. About 1.3 million filers live outside of South Carolina.

Kenneth Long
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Kenneth Long

President at Debtors Unite
Kenneth Long is President of Debtors Unite, Inc. as well as President and Vice Chairman for Vision Credit Education, Inc. He served as a regional coordinator for the North Carolina Saves campaign. Long co-founded the Wake EITC Coalition along with Family Resource Center of Raleigh.

Long is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a B.A. in Industrial Relations. He subsequently received his Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Duke University. His Certificate in Financial Planning was issued by Florida State University.

Long has achieved the Accredited Credit Counselor and Accredited Financial Counselor certifications through the Association for Financial Counseling, Planning and Education. Long originally achieved the Certified Credit Counselor designation through the National Institute for Financial Education.

In addition to years of nonprofit leadership, Long has been an innovator in the field of volunteer tax return preparation programs. He assists volunteer associations and nonprofit organizations who seek to integrate credit counseling and asset-building programs with free personal income tax preparation. His approach to using free credit reports as both an incentive and a screening tool for placement into asset-building programs has been shared with members of the National Community Tax Coalition, the EITC-Carolinas Initiative of MDC, Inc. and nonprofit groups across the Carolinas.

Long assists members of our armed forces in the Carolinas, Iowa, Rhode Island, Georgia and Germany with financial readiness. Please support our Soldiers, Marines, Airmen and Sailors!

Favorite quote:

"The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not."

Thomas Jefferson
Kenneth Long
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