In This Issue: IRS warns of telemarketing scam that threatens cancellation of social security numbers. … Employee’s compromised login credentials left online personal records of 19,000 Midlands hospitals patients exposed. … South Carolina’s student loan default rates is among nation’s highest. … Charleston A.I. firm Engage Talent sold to Florida-based workforce management analyst. … Taste the rainbow this Halloween, Skittles is state’s most popular candy.
The IRS is cautioning taxpayers and tax professionals to beware of a twist on the scam in which fraudsters use telephones to threaten victims that their Social Security number will be canceled if they don’t pay their taxes. “It’s yet another attempt by con artists to frighten people into returning ‘robocall’ voicemails,” the IRS wrote in an email to tax professionals. “If taxpayers receive a call threatening to suspend their SSN for an unpaid tax bill, they should just hang up.” The IRS does use private collection agencies to help collect tax debts, but the IRS said the debt collection agencies will never call to demand immediate payment using a specific method such as a prepaid debit card, iTunes gift card or wire transfer (the IRS does not use these as payment). Legitimate IRS private debt collection agencies will not ask a taxpayer to make a payment to a person or organization other than the U.S. Treasury, or threaten to bring in police or law-enforcement groups to have the taxpayer arrested for not paying. (Accounting Today)
When the login credentials of a Midlands employee at Prisma Health were compromised, nearly 19,000 patients and 3,000 volunteers at six hospitals might have had their personal information exposed online, according to a spokeswoman for South Carolina’s largest hospital system. Detailed medical records were not compromised in the leak, which was discovered in late August. The personal information of patients and volunteers potentially exposed stemmed from pre-registration forms completed on the Palmetto Health website and included names, addresses, Social Security numbers and birth dates as well as certain health and insurance details. Prisma Health said it is mailing letters to those who might have been affected and that records of Prisma hospitals patients outside the Midlands were not exposed. The employee’s password has since been reset, the spokeswoman said. (The State)
Of the 50 states and Washington D.C., South Carolina has the 41st-highest loan default rate, according to a study by financial product analyst LendEDU. While the criteria for defaulting on a loan can vary – some federal loans permit borrowers to miss several payments while others are deemed in default after one missed deadline – there were 59,086 students at South Carolina schools who started repaying student loans in 2016 and 6,841 of them defaulted within two years for a rate of 11.6% defaulted loans. The national average is 10.1%, but southern states show higher rates of defaults compared to the rest of the country. Denmark Technical College, the historically black institution near Bamberg, had the country’s highest default rate among public schools between 2016 and 2018 at 43.8%. Consequences for defaulted loans can include a lower credit score, garnished wages or the borrower being sued the loan company. A school whose default rates tops 40% risks its eligibility for the federal program that helps coordinate student loans. LendEDU’s South Carolina-specific loan debt figures can be found here. (Greenville News)
Engage Talent, the Charleston-based artificial intelligence firm founded in 2015, has been sold to an Orlando workforce management company owned by The Carlyle Group, one of the country’s largest private equity firms. Workforce Logiq was lacking in-house AI capabilities, and the aim is that Engage Talent’s capacity to mine thousands of information sources will provide employers with tools to predict behaviors for hiring and retaining workers. Joe Hanna, Engage Talent’s CEO and founder who will remain in Charleston as Engage Talent’s managing director and transition to the role of chief strategy officer at the combined firm, said he was not actively seeking to sell but that the technical expertise at the helm of Workforce Logiq means the companies are well-suited to fit culturally. The sale will be a boost to Charleston’s technology industry as Workforce Logiq plans to expand the Charleston operation. The deal’s financial terms were not disclosed. (Post and Courier)
When South Carolina’s trick-or-treaters empty their buckets this year, odds are they’ll be tasting the rainbow. Skittles by Wrigley Co./Mars is the Palmetto State’s most purchased candy, according to 12 years of sales data by bulk distributor CandyStore.com, joining California, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii and Minnesota to make it the most popular candy in the U.S. The National Retail Federation estimates that the $2.6 billion spent on Halloween candy this year will remain level from 2018. (CBS News)
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
“We were able to put together a team here in Charleston that is very difficult to assemble anywhere. It would be silly to think about impacting that team now.”
Joe Hanna, CEO of Engage Talent, after his Charleston-based AI company was bought by Orlando-based workforce management company Workforce Logiq and the companies’ strategy to expand its operations of Engage Talent’s roughly 30 employees in the Holy City.