Computer breach hits 12,500 SC insurance policies

As many as 12,500 South Carolinians' personal information may be at risk after hackers broke into Nationwide Insurance Company's computer network.

Nationwide reported its computer system was attacked seven weeks ago by crooks who collected Social Security numbers, drivers license numbers, and possibly birth dates, according to the South Carolina Insurance Department, which was notified of the breach by Nationwide.

The security breach does not involve the SC Department of Insurance's system or any other agency of SC state government.

Nationwide has a toll-free hotline to answer questions from anyone who might have been affected. The number is 1-800-760-1125.

Nationwide will offer affected members and applicants free credit monitoring and identity theft protection services from Equifax for at least one year.

Nationwide will notify all affected South Carolina policy holders by mail. Those mailings began Friday, November 16. If you have not received written notification by Friday, November 30, 2012, please contact Nationwide Insurance at the toll-free number listed above.

Insurance officials say Nationwide quickly contacted the law enforcement authorities who are investigating.

South Carolina's tax collection agency is reeling from a cyber-attack at that exposed the personal data of nearly 4 million individual filers and 700,000 businesses. Gov. Nikki Haley says state officials didn't do enough to prevent that data theft. For answers to many Frequently Asked Questions about that DOR hack, click here.

(The Associated Press Contributed to this report)