CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD)– Numbers from the South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs reveal a dramatic increase in security breach notices.
According to SCDCA, more than half a million South Carolinians were affected in the past three months alone.
Security breach reports received July through October 2019 show a 316% increase.
At least 595,344 SC consumers had their private information breached. That includes, social security numbers, full name, date of birth, usernames, passwords, credit and debit card information are examples of data obtained in the breaches.
SCDCA urges consumers to stay alert in protecting their information by doing the following:
- Watch out for phishing attempts. Asking for personal or sensitive information via a phone call, text or email is a tactic used by scammers. A fraudster may even use information taken from breaches to make their request seem more convincing. Never reply to texts, pop-ups or emails that ask for verification of personal information. Avoid clicking on links or attachments from suspicious emails or texts.
- Closely monitor your credit report and financial statements/accounts. Check all monthly statements and account activity. You can obtain your FREE credit reports by visiting [www.annualcreditreport.com%20]www.annualcreditreport.com or calling (877) 322-8228. Review your statements and credit report for unauthorized purchases/accounts and suspicious items.
- Consider a fraud alert and security freeze. Prevent scammers from opening new accounts using your information by placing a FREE fraud alert and/or security freeze on your credit reports. A fraud alert tells a business accessing your report to take extra steps to verify that you are the one seeking its goods/services. When a security freeze is in place, no one can access your report without your OK. Contact one of the three major credit reporting agencies to place an alert and contact each of them to place a freeze: Equifax (800) 685-1111, Experian (888) 397-3742 and TransUnion (888) 909-8872.
For additional tips on how to protect your information, check out these tips on how to avoid identity theft or contact SCDCA’s Identity Theft Unit.