When should I know if my tax information was hacked?

The South Carolina Department of Revenue security breach that compromised 3.8 million people's tax returns continues to surprise many.

"I was shocked," Myrtle Beach resident Nathan Clemens said. "I got it last week in the mail... I thought what is this?"

The SCDOR mailed Clemens a letter informing him his information was stolen by an international hacker last year.

"When I got it, I opened it up and it said security breach, and I said I didn't know what was going on. And then, I went online and looked and apparently there is a lot of people in South Carolina that this has happened to."

Since the beginning of the year, SCDOR has mailed hundreds of thousands of these letters. First, the agency sent them to former residents who moved out-of-state. Next, the letters went to current residents who were hacked, beginning from the lowest zip code to the highest.

"All mailings should be out potentially by the first full week of February," said SCDOR spokeswoman Samantha Cheek.

Anyone who filed a tax return in South Carolina since 1998 is at risk.

Along with the letters, SCDOR is sending out 500,000 emails to those who were hacked and gave Experian an email address when they signed up for a year of free service.

"When individuals enrolled with Experian's 'Protect My ID' service, some individuals provided their emails with their enrollment so therefore those individuals will be receiving notification if their information was compromised via email," Cheek said.

The emails will continue to be sent until the middle of next week and will be sent to people with the heading "Experian via the South Carolina Department of Revenue", Cheek said.

"There are still people out there that weren't aware of what happened," licensed certified public accountant James Mcilrath said. "People are just trying to find out what they're supposed to do and what can they do to protect themselves."

He's informed his clients to sign up for Experian's service immediately, but also advises them to continue to monitor their credit even after the free year expires.

"I think the people that stole it are aware of what's going on with the Department of Revenue," he said. "I think they're aware that there is one year protection available. So if something's going to happen, it's going to happen right after that free protect my ID runs out."

"This is something that isn't going to be resolved short term. This information is always going to be out there. So it's something that everyone is going have to be aware of and monitor," he added.

Clemens, like everyone else who filed taxes in South Carolina, has until March 31 to sign up for free Experian service. But he doesn't believe that's enough.

"If it's good for a year, I want it to be good for 30 years," Clemens said. "I'm trying to build my credit. I want to buy a house one day."