SC Dept. of Consumer Affairs provides resources to deter identity theft, scams
Monday, March 12, 2018
The South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs is the state’s consumer protection agency. The Department has over forty years of experience in protecting South Carolina consumers while recognizing those businesses that act honestly and fairly. Our mission is to protect consumers from inequities in the marketplace through advocacy, mediation, enforcement and education. Valuable partners like you help us empower consumers with the knowledge they need to avoid scams and deter identity theft. We encourage you to take advantage of the resources below, by making them available to your customer base.
CONSUMER ASSISTANCE: SCDCA’S IDENTITY THEFT UNIT
In 2013, the Department established the Identity Theft Unit, offering tailored guidance to consumers who are victims of security breaches, scams, and identity theft. Anyone faced with identity theft can contact the Unit at 844-TELL DCA (835-5322) or complete an identity theft intake form at www.consumer.sc.gov under the “Report Identity Theft” button. Tips to avoid identity theft are also available.
CONSUMER RESOURCE: “DITCH THE PITCH”
In an effort to arm consumers with the tools necessary to avoid scam artists, the Department created “Ditch the Pitch: A Guide for Guarding against Scams.” “Ditch the Pitch” includes facts on scams, like phishing and SMiShing, as well as best practices for avoiding these common ruses. Imposter scams, the top reported scam, are covered in detail. Also included is a list of general red flags that span various scam types, including requests for wire transfer and verification of personal information. Order up to 50 copies of “Ditch the Pitch” to feature in your establishment. Your institution also has permission to reproduce “Ditch the Pitch” as long as it remains unaltered.
The Department offers presentations/trainings on these same topics and more. A subject matter expert will come to your location to teach staff how to detect, deter and defend against identity theft and scams, free of charge. Request a presentation today.
BUSINESS GUIDANCE: “IDENTITY THEFT AND THE LAW”
Recently, the Department updated its guide for business, “Identity Theft and the Law,” providing an overview of key sections of SC’s identity theft protection statute. Topics include proper disposal of business records and handling of personal information, such as social security numbers. Among other things, security beaches are covered in detail, including a sample notification letter. This guide to SC law is a must have for your business customers.
Since 2008 the Department has received more than 285 security breach notices. The recent Equifax breach pushed the total number of South Carolina consumers affected by breaches to over 10 million. Many consumers have placed security freezes on their credit reports, leading to delays in processing loan applications due to consumer misunderstanding about how/when/why to lift the freeze. The Department encourages businesses pulling consumer credit reports to ask applicants if they have a security freeze in place as a part of the application process to avoid such delays.
We sincerely hope that you will use these tools to help consumers navigate the ever-evolving marketplace. Should you have any questions, contact Juliana Harris, Communications Director at email@example.com or (803) 734-4296.