Despite Promises, Lifelock Knows Public Data is A Risk

Todd Davis didn't post his social security number publicly because he thought his company could protect it. He did it as an advertising gimmick that netted him almost 2 million paying customers. At least, I have to assume that's what Todd's motivations were because I'm guessing he's not an idiot and knew his service wouldn't actually prevent ID theft. Even if he were, there have been so particularly telling clues recently such as:

  1. Having his own identity robbed 13 times since the stunt began.
  2. The 12 million dollar settlement with the FTC over false advertising relating to their gross misrepresentation of being able to prevent ID theft.

That's why when an employee's sensitive data showed up online, they worked to have it removed. No one should have their social security number posted publicly because the risk is too great. Unless of course you're the CEO of a company that charges $10/month to almost 2 million people and can afford any amount of ID theft you're hit with.

For those that are bad at math, that's 20 million a month income. Makes that $12 million settlement seem kind of inconsequential doesn't it?

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$12 Million Settlement Against Lifelock for Deceptive Advertising

I'm not surprised about the fine, just that it took this long. Of course, they'll just shrug it off and any other lawsuit so long as they make more money than they spend.

Sadly, by the time someone actually shuts Lifelock down (if ever), the people responsible for it will be so rich that it won't make any difference. But until then, we can feel a little happier knowing that there are some organizations that are making them pay for their dishonesty; although 12 million dollars is less than one month of Lifelock's income on their almost 2 million reported customers.

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Lifelock Under 6th Class Action Lawsuit

I have no idea how I missed this, but it’s great news regardless!

If you signed up with Lifelock and are unhappy with their service or guarantee or just want further info on the class action you can contact David Paris at Marks & Klein, (732)-747-7100.

I almost wish I had signed up for Lifelock so I could get involved.

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Id Theft Insurance

There are are a variety of sources that you can find that say that insurance doesn't work, but some people feel some peace of mind by having it, necessary or not.

Fair enough. But consider that when you are paying for a service, you should get your money's worth or it's nothing but a rip off. What do you really get for ID theft insurance? Granted the details vary by the service, but once you freeze your credit, what do you need the insurance for?

If you must pay for a service you don't need, at least pick one that's not tricking you out of your money. Do some research before pulling out the checkbook so-to-speak. As an example, take a close look at Lifelock and what they offer, and you'll quickly see it's not all it's cracked up to be.

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Bogus Lifelock Sites Cross The Line

Jtag diagnostic: For best performance, put a 'no_image.gif' generic image for missing images in your root graphics folder

I reported before about the large amount of bogus Lifelock review sites and blogs that are everywhere on the net and they just won't quit. I set up some web alerts to tell me whenever a new site or post is created mentioning Lifelock and that led me to this article:

Lifelock and Melaleuca
Lifelock and Melaleuca

First of all, it's highly insulting to our collective intelligence to suggest that Lifelock is actively pursuing the "cure" to ID theft just like it was insulting when OJ Simpson claimed to be actively looking for the "real" killer. The answer is already out there and they are either ignoring it on purpose or they are unaware of it. That makes them incompetent at best, and dishonest at worst.

But my feelings for Lifelock aside, the real issue here is that the company they name in the article is Melaleuca, an Amway-like direct sales company that has a fairly decent line of products that I buy from time to time. I have always liked their philosophy and assumed that they were one of those companies who was run by real people who actually care about the world, their customers or both.

I'd like to think that they just don't know anything about Lifelock which disappoints me in that they clearly didn't do their homework. Alternatively, perhaps they don't care and it's only the bottom line that counts. Either way, I'm not thrilled by this partnership and I'm sending Melaluca corporation an e-mail to that effect. I expect a similar response to all the other e-mails I've sent in the past, but at least I can hope for the best.

At least it will give me the chance to use the skills I've been reading about in one of my new favorite books: How to Complain for Fun and Profit.

[+] Complain Letter to Melaleuca

Click the [+] to open and read the letter

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Lifelock Steals Competitor Corporate Identity

I've written about Lifelock's morally dubious advertising techniques before, but this is certainly new. Lifelock has been accused of paying for sponsored links to their competitor NAMESAFE which, when clicked, take you not to NAME SAFE, but Lifelock.

I would be very surprised if this wasn't considered fraud and I'm interested to see what happens as a result.

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An Open Challenge to Todd Davis of Lifelock

I have been challenging the value of Lifelock for a while based on the fact that they claim to prevent ID theft, but can't. It looks like several other people have come to that conclusion and are busy suing him for as much of his millions that they can get.

That's why I've decided to challenge Todd Davis directly
The problem is that even with CNN, Wired, and Yahoo finally getting around to spreading the word, Lifelock is still going very strong.

Even though I've been chasing Lifelock postings around on the net and posting comments letting people know the truth, I don't think my efforts are going to amount to much in the long-run.

That's why I've decided to challenge Todd Davis directly. He's obviously a showy type that feels comfortable challenging others so now it's time to turn the tables.

I've looked into Lifelock's features and found them useful, but far from worth the money spent. But with only one feature addition, that could all change. So let's get to it:

Dear Todd Davis,

You appear at first glance to be quite the swift talker. You've promised to prevent ID Theft, but for some reason, you ignore the one and only tool that can actually do that: credit freezes.

I don't know why, perhaps you didn't know about them. But leaving your motivations and ID Theft experience aside, you can and should include credit freezes into your service immediately. Not only would you actually be able to prevent ID theft as you originally claimed, but you'd be able to help your customers in a very real way.

If you were to include both the freezing and as-needed thawing of freezes into your service, even I will agree that Lifelock has value.

Sure, I won't recommend it to everyone I know and I won't use it myself, but I would be able to honestly recommend it to people who would otherwise never get or use a freeze if they didn't have your service's help.

So pay attention Mr. Davis: If you want to turn public opinion toward your company and prevent the inevitable tide of negativity that threatens to drown you, perhaps you should consider making good on your word and actually prevent identity theft.

Sincerely,

-Jeremy Duffy

Awareness Advocate

P.S. If you don't know what credit freezes are, click here.

So there you have it. What are the odds that he'll actually respond? We shall see…

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Man Spends 3 Million in only 3 Months on ID Theft

Using only a photocopy of a driver's license and a social security number, James Harman bought over 3 million dollars worth of goods in his brother's name.

The most important point to this story? It wouldn't have happened in the first place if he'd had a credit freeze, but it still would have even if he'd had any kind of monitoring or insurance plan (even Lifelock).

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Another Class Action Suit Against Lifelock

This time, it's in New Jersey.

On its Web site, www.lifelock.com, the company reports that it places requests for fraud alerts with credit bureaus on behalf of its clients. "If someone is trying to use your personal information, you will be contacted by the creditor that is issuing the line of credit," LifeLock says.

"If you receive a call and you are not the one applying for credit, the transaction should be stopped immediately."

But creditors are not required to contact applicants even if they have fraud alerts in their files, says the Pasternak lawsuit. The Experian lawsuit makes a similar argument. The Pasternaks also blast LifeLock’s $1 million guarantee, claiming that the fine print renders it virtually worthless.

EXACTLY! Finally someone gets it. Tags: ,

Lifelock Adds a REAL Service!?

According to Businesswire.com, Lifelock will be adding a real bon-a-fide service to their program.

Effective immediately, LifeLock will begin rolling out eRecon(TM), a regular patrol of the Internet in search of the social security numbers, credit card numbers, driver’s license numbers and email addresses of LifeLock members to protect against the information being illegally traded or sold online.

What is not explained is what parts of the Internet will be "scoured" or what they will do when they find this information. But in either case, a service that actually monitors your online profile is hinting at becoming actually useful. I wonder if the lawsuits had anything to do with this.

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