Wednesday, November 7, 2012

From the House

Bluffton Today

By the time you read this, the bulk of the election will have been concluded, we will know how our local candidates and issues fared, and with luck, our friends in the storm ravaged Northeast will have been able to exercise the sacred franchise.

First, a note of explanation to our neighbors out at Buckingham Landing. The name of your excellent neighborhood has not been changed. Unfortunately, my three-year effort to have the boat ramp renamed in honor of our friend, Bill Marscher, has culminated in signage that can charitably be described as misleading. I have spoken with my friends over at Department of Natural Resources (DNR). They are aware of the mistake and will make every effort to make it right. If it looks like it’s going to take another three years, I’ll find the old sign and put it up myself.

Bill Marscher was such a gifted and profoundly influential person; he amply deserves to be remembered in some water-related fashion. I will devote a column to his water-quality efforts very soon. I will also try to explain how this good man, through his efforts to educate the development community, of which I am a member, in the newest and best ways to manage stormwater runoff, cost your representative’s development a million dollars ­that I was happy to spend.

We had over 600 calls to the office this week, mostly concerning the security breach at Department of Revenue (DOR). The papers have been doing a creditable job of covering the event and explaining what you should be doing. This is what I know:

About three weeks ago, thieves hacked the South Carolina Department of Revenue and gained access to your tax returns back to 1998. If you have a business that files sales or use tax, they have your info as well. You should assume that by now your information has been sliced and diced and distributed among the criminal community that specializes in identity theft and all that implies. We are talking about Social Security numbers, bank routing numbers, and credit and debit card numbers—everything.

If you have not done so already, please go to and enter the code SCDOR123. Under a deal struck with Experian, you will be eligible for credit fraud resolution for life. The Protect My ID program is designed to detect, protect and resolve potential identity theft and includes daily monitoring of all three credit bureaus.

If you are a businessperson, in addition to the above, you need to know the state is providing credit monitoring through Dunn and Bradstreet. Either call 1-800-279-9881, or visit to sign up. You also need to inquire of your financial institutions what protections are in place on their end.

In an effort to see that this will not happen again, the governor has signed an executive order directing all her cabinet and agencies to designate someone to coordinate with the State Inspector General, Patrick Maley, in a new effort to improve the state’s cyber security. She indicated the state government’s fragmented approach to IT security makes South Carolina vulnerable to serious cyber and information breaches.

In reality, these measures are prudent and worthwhile but ultimately you have to stay on top of your own situation. Credit monitoring simply tells you when you have been attacked and with luck and a quick response, you can limit your loss and inconvenience. The price of paying taxes and bills online is a certain risk of being a victim of cyber crime. Unfortunately, our desire for convenience and amenity has outrun our security capability. Wish this was as easy to fix as the Buckingham Landing sign.