S.C. Senate panel looking into hacking

COLUMBIA (AP) — The director of the state Revenue Department said his agency did not have a computer security officer for nearly a year before a hacker stole the personal data of millions of taxpayers.

Jim Etter told senators Wednesday the position was vacant from September 2011 through August. That’s the month a hacker gained access to the agency’s system.

Etter said the agency’s former chief information officer took over the additional duties in the interim. Etter said that information officer could not find anyone willing to accept the job for a $100,000 salary.

Etter said the former information officer resigned in September for reasons unrelated to the hacking.

The Senate oversight panel is investigating the breach that exposed information on 3.8 million individual filers and 700,000 businesses.

Agency billing for missed payments

COLUMBIA (AP) — Nearly 400 nonprofits and local governments will receive bills totaling $542,000 after South Carolina’s unemployment agency mistakenly undercharged employers for three quarters.

The Department of Employment and Workforce is notifying employers this week of a computer programming error that resulted in $8.6 million worth of paid-out benefits not being properly recorded.

The agency said the error stems from 2008, when the unemployed were allowed to file for benefits on weekends. However, the program that generates quarterly statements still operated under business days. So quarters that ended over weekends missed two days’ worth of filings.

That first happened Dec. 31, 2011.

The bills are going to employers that pay as they lay off people.

The agency said few businesses that pay unemployment insurance taxes will see higher bills for 2013.

FBI warns of new real estate, rental scam

COLUMBIA (AP) — The Federal Bureau of Investigation is warning homeowners and prospective renters in South Carolina of a new scam.

FBI Special Agent Dave Thomas said potential victims are being contacted by an individual in a foreign country by either email or phone who asks them to send money to an unknown third person in an overseas location.

Thomas said the perpetrators are searching for homes for sale or rent on the internet. They copy pictures and descriptions of the residences, and place them on the marketing site Craigslist,

Thomas warns renters to never wire money to any unknown person. He said to only conduct business with people in person and to view any rental property themselves. Thomas asks those with complaints about internet crime to contact the FBI at www.ic3.gov.