20 Ways Wal-Mart Clinics Will Affect Health Care
Washington State Passes RFID Anti-Skimming Law

Consumer Reports On LifeLock

Many consumers consider Consumer Reports a trustworthy source of independent product and service information, in order to make smart purchases. As a child, I remember watching my parents read Consumer Reports' product testing results before buying a car and expensive household appliances. I currently subscribe to Consumer Reports' On Health publication.

Last month, Consumer Reports reviewed LifeLock, a credit monitoring service:

"LifeLock spent $5 million on TV and radio ads nationally in the first half of this year and claims to have 300,000 subscribers. It has been endorsed by actor Fred Thompson (before he officially became a presidential candidate) and radio personalities Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Paul Harvey. But as Harvey might say, now here’s the rest of the story."

What LifeLock does to protect your sensitive personal data and credit reports:

"For $10 a month or $110 a year, LifeLock instructs the top three credit-reporting agencies Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion to place fraud alerts on your credit reports and renews them every 90 days. The service also tells the three bureaus that you opt out of receiving preapproved credit offers and asks the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) to remove your name from mailing lists. Of course, you can do those things yourself free. And fraud alerts are no guarantee against ID theft. Some lenders don’t see them and allow crooks to open accounts in other people’s names anyway."

If you are like me, then you've already done most of this on your own -- for free. I placed Fraud Alerts on my credit reports, and later renewed them. I have already opted out of pre-approved credit offers and telemarketing lists -- again, for free. Is there anything LifeLock provides that we consumers can't do ourselves? Perhaps it's their credit restoration services:

"... the company guarantees against all losses and expenses a client incurs up to $1 million. LifeLock’s guarantee will restore stolen funds to your bank accounts, get fraudulent credit accounts closed, pay lost wages, hire credit-repair firms, and do "whatever it takes to get your life back..."

While that sounds really appealing, Consumer Reports also wrote this:

"But the customer agreement doesn't actually bind LifeLock to much of what Davis promised us. It specifically says that the company will not reimburse "consequential damages, such as lost wages." [LifeLock CEO] Davis says customers should ignore the fine print: "The lost-wage clause is there because insurance commissioners wanted to be sure we’re not an insurance company. We’re not." The contract, meanwhile, is vague about reimbursing stolen money: "We will pay professionals to assist in restoring any such loss." The guarantee hinges on "the failure or defect in our service," which the contract defines as initiating requests with credit bureaus and the DMA. But Davis says the contract really means something else: "If the fraud alerts did not do what they were intended to do, then the service failed. I don’t just mean that my system didn’t send them correctly," he says.

If you are considering LifeLock to protect your identity, I strongly encourage you to read the entire Consumer Reports review of LifeLock first. Then decide if LifeLock is for you.

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

David M.

These guys are as much of a scam as identity thieves themselves. A half hour on the phone with their member services department proved that to me. I had my info stolen and someone fraudulently signed up a LifeLock account in my name (ironic, no?). These guys wouldn't lift a finger to help me out, it was obvious that they could care less, they got their money and were happy.

Everyone, just so you know, all they do is sign up for that 90 credit fraud alert for you every 90 days. They sign you up with their phone number and then call you if they get a call. Guess what? You can just sign up your own phone number and get the exact same service for free. Just add a recurring event to your Google Calendar to fill out the online form quarterly and you're done. Not only is this cheaper, but you don't have to give all of your confidential info (e.g. SSN) to a bunch of scammers (e.g. LifeLock).

Wendy

Wow! This is great information. I haven't personally dealt with them, and because I've never heard otherwise, I assumed they offered a great service. I appreciate the heads up as well as the shared experiences by the previous person who commented.

Lee Beattie

Wow, I was not aware of the that Lifelock did all of these things. Interesting post thanks for this I will make sure to come back in the future.

Robert

I was a paying member for 2 years until I had a similar experience with Lifelock. In mid 2009, I received a call from 1 of my mastercard companies' fraud dept. They informed me that someone got hold of my card number and and name and zip code, and was attempting to change my mailing address with that credit card company by phone.
Luckily the perp. didn't have my phone number, which triggered the fraud dept. to call me.
Before calling to attempt to change my address, the perp. had used my card number over a period of ten consecutive days at one gas station to charge almost $1,000 in gas.
The card company cancelled the card and reissued, of course, and credited my account for the full amount.
When I called Lifelock and asked their people why they had never suspected this problem, I was told that "we weren't aware of it and anyway, what we do is help you if your identity is actually stolen or if the credit card company refuses to credit your account, after you've made every attempt on your own."
I did all the work-form filing, etc. and what do they consider ID theft anyway?

Of course Federal Law requires credit card companies to refund fraud as they did, after my legwork.

The wallet protection junk is a bust too...as a member for over 2 years, nobody at their end ever brought that feature up...or how it might work; and all my correspondence was by phone.
We really need a company out there that will proactively protect against ID theft..But, it not Lifelock. Smoke and mirrors.

Bob W.

George

Bob:

Thanks for sharing your experience. It is always good to hear about a service from an actual customer. Lifelock always sounded sketchy to me and I never signed up for it.

It is sad that Lifelock didn't do more in your situation. I agree with you that Lifelock SHOULD have been more proactive in your situation.

I hope that you will share in the future your experience with what other identity protection service you decide to switch to.

George
Editor
ivebeenmugged.typepad.com

Randy Bezinque

LifeLock is a worthless company. Its only valuable until you need it. I had LifeLock and reported a fraudulent withdrawal from my checking account. LifeLock agreed it was a fraud and deposited the money in my checking account. Two days later they took the money back out of my checking account. As a result it created an negative balance on my checking account and several NSF checks. They never reimburse me for the fraudulent claim and never explained why.

They have several negative comments on the internet from people just like me.

Please don’t get caught up in their lies of "Total Protection"

George

Randy:

Thanks for sharing your experience. It is sad that you were a customer in order to find out. Best wishes with your replacement credit/identity protection service.

George
Editor
http://ivebeenmugged.typepad.com

Maria

I appreciate the information as I was ready to sign up me and my husband. Please help me with the items I can do myself. Who do I contact for the online fraud alert form and what else can I do on my own to secure my information as well as stop the credit card requests. I truly appreciate your assistance.

George

Maria:

Below are several links for more information. You can call each of the 3 major credit reporting agencies to place a Fraud Alert on your credit files. To learn more about Fraud Alerts:
http://ivebeenmugged.typepad.com/my_weblog/2007/07/fraud-alerts.html

For Credit Freezes:
http://ivebeenmugged.typepad.com/my_weblog/2008/04/security-freeze.html

To understand the difference between a Fraud Alert and a Credit Freeze:
http://ivebeenmugged.typepad.com/my_weblog/2008/01/fraud-alert-or.html

To remove your name and address from pre-approved credit card offers:
https://www.optoutprescreen.com/

I hope that this helps.

George
Editor
http://ivebeenmugged.typepad.com

Maria

George,
Thank you. This morning I have already opted out of the credit card offers and will proceed to do the rest ASAP. I am so glad I found this site. Thanks again.
Maria

Brian

I haven't experienced this before but thanks for sharing this to us. If i encounter this kind of situation, i know what to do.

Repair Credit

To David M. quoting "These guys are as much of a scam as identity thieves themselves. A half hour on the phone with their member services department proved that to me," is this really true? I know LifeLock isn't a reliable one. I just need some proof. Hope to hear you soon. Thank you.

Credit Repair Services

Does Lifelock supports also on inactive credit cards?

CreditRepair Services

tnx for the info.its a great help.
"... the company guarantees against all losses and expenses a client incurs up to $1 million. LifeLock’s guarantee will restore stolen funds to your bank accounts, get fraudulent credit accounts closed, pay lost wages, hire credit-repair firms, and do "whatever it takes to get your life back..."Lifelock SHOULD have been more proactive in your situation,I am so glad I found this site.

George

Credit Repair Services:

Regarding your question, I don't know. You'll have to ask the folks at Lifelock.

Regarding your above quote about what Lifelock will (or won't) cover, I encourage people considering Lifelock to read the entire contract. The contract is the source of exactly what is covered and what Lifelock (or any credit monitoring and resolution service) will and won't do. Other terms and conditions may apply.

George
Editor
http://ivebeenmugged.typepad.com

Credit Repair Services

some lenders don’t see them and allow crooks to open accounts in other people’s names anyway.I know LifeLock isn't a reliable one. I just need some proof.

Mark

I never signed up for an account but I received a settlement. How would I make sure an account has not been set-up?

George

Mark:

Check the documentation that was sent along with your settlement check. That documentation should list the attorneys involved and whom to contact if you have questions. The attorneys should be able to explain how you were identified and qualified to receive a settlement check.

Hopefully, you did not throw that documentation in the trash. If you did, you might start by calling the FTC. The FTC listed a phone number on this web page:

http://www.ftc.gov/lifelock

George
Editor
http://ivebeenmugged.typepad.com

William Clark

While no system is foolproof I consider placing a freeze on your account for the three credit bureaus

The comments to this entry are closed.