South Carolina Data Breach Victims Experience A Fast One

Experian, the company hired to respond and mitigate the huge South Carolina Department of Revenue data breach, has been misleading the people of South Carolina, possibly causing confusion and unnecessary costs.  Experian was awarded a 1 year 12 million dollar no bid contract by the State to respond to the massive data breach and offer free credit monitoring to those effected (just about everyone in S.C.).  Gov. Nikki Haley came under fire for the no bid contract and in response the state has opened up the remaining contract to the RFP process – the state agreed in May to offer up to 5 years of monitoring for those effected.

“The Experian call center is telling S.C. hacking victims that the state will not offer free credit-report monitoring next year — and instead should pay to have their financial records protected after last year’s massive data breach at the state Department of Revenue.

“It’s not going to be free anymore,” an Experian representative said Tuesday in response to call from a hacking victim. “Because we were offering it at such a discount, we were told South Carolina is not going to do it at all.”

So what happened?  Well it turns out that Experian did not re-bid for the contract and instead sent out renewal letters to 1+  million S.C. residents.  Reports, like the one above, came in that the call center was informing residents that the State would not be offering free credit monitoring service and that they could renew for a discounted price of 99 cents a month.  The reality is that the State is going to continue offering free credit monitor, just not through Experian!

“The Revenue Department advised in a notice posted on its website that hacking victims should “be patient in making a decision about the continued credit monitoring services offered by any vendor, including Experian, until they have an opportunity to evaluate the services the state will cover and soon make available.”

But that advice came days after people started receiving renewal notices from Experian.”

It seems that it might be too little, too late.  It is disappointing that Experian has taken advantage of the situation and take advantage of people who have already been victims once.  Unfortunately this seems to be Experian’s business plan.

The quote below by House Ways and Means chairman Brian White sums up the situation:

“I gave them the benefit of the doubt, but they went ahead and did that,” White said.

You can read more about the situation here:

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