Millions of Americans are affected by identity theft every year and the problem is growing at an alarming rate. With this in mind, lawmakers in South Carolina are now looking into a way for residents there to better protect themselves, and get a tax break for doing so.
The state’s Senate finance subcommittee recently passed a bill that would allow many families to take up to $1,000 in tax deductions when they had identity theft protection services, including resolution, if they are paying for these products themselves, according to a report from the Greenville News. However, another provision of that bill may cause it to be defeated when it reaches the Senate at large because it requires counties to pay for at least $10,000 worth of upgrades to their security systems without receiving state funding to do so.
[Credit Check Tool: Monitor your credit score and activity for free with Credit.com]
“If you have a tweak that only cost $10,000, under the Department of Revenue budget or a large county’s budget (that) may not be that significant. That is a very significant amount of money in Allendale,” Robert Croom, deputy general counsel for the S.C. Association of Counties, told the newspaper. “We have an obligation to protect the data. We have an obligation to be a good partner. But in many of those instances we didn’t ask to be linked by computer. We were told we had to.”
Another aspect of protection the state would provide to residents is providing free credit monitoring and identity theft resolution for a decade to people affected by a hacking attack against the state’s Department of Revenue that exposed the financial data for millions of people and thousands of businesses, the report said. The tax break for residents paying for their own services would allow a $1,000 deduction for families and a $300 deduction for individuals, but would only be allowed for those who were affected by the attack.
[Featured Products: Research and compare Identity theft protection plans at Credit.com]
Consumers who think they may have be a victim of identity theft may want to keep close tabs on their finances going forward, including taking the time to check their bank statements, credit card bills, and credit reports for anything they do not recognize. If any of these entries exist, contacting the institution that issued the document — lender, bank or credit bureau — can help to resolve whatever potential problems may arise.