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COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Experian is notifying South Carolina parents they can begin signing up to have their children's credit monitored.

The program is part of the state's response to the hacking of millions of taxpayers' personal data. The theft included the Social Security numbers of 1.9 million dependents on parents' tax returns.

Gov. Nikki Haley announced Friday the availability of Experian's Family Secure service, free to parents. It's covered by the state's $12 million contract with the company.

Most children under 18 don't have a credit history, particularly pre-teens. The parent who signs up will be alerted if a credit file pops up in a child's name. If a file exists, the service will monitor for suspicious activity.

A parent must first enroll in Experian's ProtectMyID service. That's been available since Oct. 26.

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