Wednesday, October 2, 2013

From the House

Bluffton Today

Although my last column was factually correct with regard to the information on the state funded identity theft program, I had some lingering doubts as to whether I had given the full picture of this large, ongoing project. Consequently, I had correspondence, both verbal and in writing, with members of the Ways and Means staff, Department of Revenue, and most authoritatively, with Speaker Bobby Harrell. I’m afraid it’s one of those “good news/bad news” situations.

Here’s the deal: The good news is that we have, provisionally, a new vendor for your free identity theft protection. The bad news is that the original problem is still some distance from solution. The reason is that the state has a number of databases with differing ways of securing information. We are seeking a comprehensive solution that will involve all our data. The requirement is complex and will take some time to accomplish. In the interim, we are committed to protect you from the consequences of our myriad short-term fixes that each department cobbled together. At the end of this process, we will be a modern, secure repository for the data we, of necessity, need to possess in order to do our job of accurately and fairly computing your taxes.

The good news is that the state has selected a new vendor to supply the services we have committed to. We have arrived at this decision by our normal procurement process, with all the safeguards and protections built into the system. The new vendor is CS Identity Corporation (CSID). Absent any protest during the mandatory 10-day protest period, they will become the new vendor effective October 4th.
Even if you did not sign up for the free (to you) monitoring program, you are still eligible to receive this standard coverage. You will receive the information on how to sign up for this free coverage as it becomes available.

Here are the services CSID is contractually committed to provide beginning October 24th:

1. Daily trans-union carrier monitoring
2. Change of address monitoring
3. Payday loan monitoring
4. Criminal records monitoring
5. Social Security number trace
6. Cyber monitoring
7. Sex offender monitoring
8. Child identity monitoring

In addition, and most importantly in my thinking, is a $1 million identity theft insurance policy, per person, and a full-service identity restoration service. Eligible South Carolina businesses can also sign up for free real time alerting of compromised credentials, malware instances, and monitoring of information concerning business main names, credentials and static IP addresses.

While my colleagues and I in the legislature continue to work with state agencies to establish new data security protocols, you can be assured that the protection of your data is our highest priority. As we work through this laborious process, we could use, and would appreciate, your help spreading the word that CSID is the new company providing these no-cost services to you. Please tell your neighbors and friends to look for the forthcoming sign-up information if you are not presently signed up. Also, if you are solicited by Experian, the former vendor, to sign up, please politely decline, as they will no longer be our vendor of these services. I can say this with good confidence as my information comes from the most unimpeachable source, South Carolina House of Representatives Speaker, Bobby Harrell.

Finally, please plan your family activities around the upcoming Arts and Seafood Festival from October 13-20, in and around Old Town Bluffton. Additionally, don’t forget the Taste of Waddell from 3 to 7 p.m. on November 10, at the Waddell Mariculture Center at the end of Sawmill Creek Road in Greater Bluffton.