Gov. Nikki Haley said 455,000 have called the South Carolina Department of Revenue since Friday trying to find out information in the wake of millions of social security numbers and other personal information being stolen.
At a press conference this morning, Haley said 154,000 have signed up for the free identity theft protection service being offered by the state.
Haley said the wait time for a call to be answered by the DOR is about 12 minutes “and is getting better.”
Frustration was expressed statewide Friday, after the hacking scandal was announced, when taxpayers could not get through to the number.
“All the information that has been compromised has been plugged and is now secure. There are no more holes that can be penetrated,” Haley said.
Haley said people have until the end of January to call the DOR and to sign up for the protection.
An estimated 3.6 million Social Security numbers and 387,000 debit card numbers were exposed to international hackers. The South Carolina Department of Revenue's website was hacked multiple times in 2012.
No new details about the criminal investigation were provided at today's press conference.
The state is providing free year of credit monitoring for anyone who has had their information compromised..
Expert Brent Bishop from CredAbility says Experian is the company who will be monitoring your credit and they are one of the three biggest agencies.
Bishop says you can take your safety a step further too. You can put a freeze on your credit information so only agencies or banks that you want to see the information can do so. A company that wishes to do a credit check will need your permission.
"If there was a change in the report or a new inquiry or something, it would be able to send a email or text alert, so the person could check or follow up on it," said Bishop.
A fraud alert will also allow your purchases to be monitored so if someone makes a charge that's abnormal, you'll be notified.
Bishop says it's a good idea to check your accounts regularly, even daily, to make sure no one is charging, even something small, with your money.
"Maybe a few smaller charges got through and so they start realizing they can start trying the bigger ones later on. These guys are good at what they do and very smart," said Bishop.
Jana Durham is a victim of identity theft and had her credit card number stolen twice since April. She warns anyone who might be impacted to get the free monitoring.
The state says anyone who has filed a South Carolina tax return since 1998 should call 1-866-578-5422 where you will enroll in a consumer protection service.
The call center is open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
The website to sign up for the protection is www.protectmyID.com/scdor. The code is scdor123.
Georgetown Times news partner WBTW TV-13 contributed to this report.
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