October 29, 2012 North Myrtle Beach, SC – A few test calls this morning to 1-866-578-5422 resulted in more frustration despite the announcement that more call handlers would be staffing the help line. All calls went to an automated service that provided only the web site and the activation code, and then irritatingly said that all call lines were full.
Confusingly, the recording also said the center was closed and please call back during their work hours of 6am to 6pm. OK –we called at 8:30am – isn’t that between those hours. Also, the work hours are a radical change from the previous announcement of 9am to 9pm. The 6am to 6am doesn’t provide much opportunity for the working stiff. The early morning is when most are getting up, showering and commuting to work and the shorten service hours in the evening are when folks are commuting. A better service is 6am to 9pm.
Disturbingly the recording says “Only SC residents can use this code.” What about those folks that filed SC taxes for the exposed years 1968 to 2010 but moved out of state? Can’t get the answer from the call line!
Another option individuals have is to freeze their credit report. According to information released by SCDOR, the Credit Reporting Agencies cannot charge for freezing or unfreezing. Consumer Union, in this publication, verified that information and cited the applicable law: SC Code 37-20-160, passed in 2008.
If you chose this option, a good step-by-step guide is provided by Clark Howard, a radio commentator who specializes in consumer advice. His advice can be accessed directly at http://www.clarkhoward.com/news/clark-howard/personal-finance-credit/credit-freeze-and-thaw-guide/nFbL/
One more tip. If you are married, both of you need to take action. Also, if you included a dependent and their SSN on your return you should include them in any action you take.