WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Nov. 28, 2012) -- Officials believe that a large number of Soldiers and their families who filed state taxes in South Carolina may be victims of identity theft.

Recently, the South Carolina Department of Revenue experienced a cyber-intrusion resulting in the theft of 3.6 million Social Security numbers and 387,000 credit and debit card numbers of South Carolina taxpayers dating from 1998 to present.

Soldiers and their families who filed in South Carolina are urged to enroll in ID theft protection which is free for one year. Carolina residents can also request a free credit report. This can be done online at www.ProtectMyID.com/SCDOR by entering this code: SCDOR123 or it can be done via phone at 1-866-578-5422 -- once the automated message is finished, a customer service representative will come on the line.

Representatives will be available by telephone Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. EST and on Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Be sure to have the last known address in the state to expedite the process.

It is important that Soldiers and their families call or go online to enroll before Jan. 31, 2013 to get the free service. Soldiers and their spouses must each enroll themselves.

In addition to a free credit report from all three credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion LLC, those who call or go online can also elect to receive free email or regular mail alerts for one year if suspicious activity is detected on their credit such as combinations of address changes, new loans to medical collections and about 50 other markers, according to Jacob, one of the Experian representatives who answered the telephone number given (representatives are not allowed to give out their last names).

A good website for all Soldiers to visit that explains ways to avoid identity theft and other cyber schemes such as phishing is: http://www.consumer.sc.gov/consumer/IdentityTheft/Pages/default.aspx.