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ID-Protection Ads Return To Bite Pitchman (Lifelock)

The Associated Press reported on May 23:

Todd Davis has dared criminals for two years to try stealing his identity: Ads for his fraud-prevention company, LifeLock, even offer his Social Security number next to his smiling mug. Now, Lifelock customers in Maryland, New Jersey and West Virginia are suing Davis, claiming his service didn't work as promised and he knew it wouldn't, because the service had failed even him.

Why are these consumers suing Lifelock? Simply:

Davis acknowledged in an interview with The Associated Press that his stunt has led to at least 87 instances in which people have tried to steal his identity, and one succeeded: a guy in Texas who duped an online payday loan operation last year into giving him $500 using Davis' Social Security number. Paris said the fact Davis' records were compromised at all supports the claim that Tempe, Ariz.-based LifeLock doesn't provide the comprehensive protection its advertisements say it does.

This is not just a case of the media bashing Lifelock. The trustworthy Consumer Reports publication reviewed Lifelock in April and came to the same conclusion, and casted severe doubts on the million-dollar guarantee Lifelock offers. Plus, Lifelock won't protect you against medical identity theft, identity fraud during the commission of a crime, or identity fraud outside of the USA. And I seriously doubt that Lifelock can protect consumers again income tax identity fraud.

In my opinion, Lifelock is no help. What the company offers, I've already done on my 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. I've also placed a Security Freeze on my credit reports.

To be fair, some consumers who are novices at identity theft may find Lifelock beneficial. Then again, novices will find almost all credit monitoring services helpful.

Comments

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Christian J

hi,
I was also a victim of identity theft and I want to thank you for your thoughts. I am considering following your advice of freezing my credit with all three credit bureaus. I have not acted because I spoke to lifelock and they say that insurance companies and credit card companies will time to time check my credit and if they see it is frozen then I will not get a good discount.
I also spoke to ID Analytics, now lifelock and they state that for $25/month they can monitor if anyone gets a payday loan with your name. They state that a criminal only needs your SS $# and a fake id and they get a loan. The only way you find out is when the payday loan sharks come asking for their money. Can you give us a step by step instruction on how to protect yourself.
I mean I read your blog in that you do it yourself without relying on the Lifelock,Experian, etc... but I just need guidance... thanks

George

Christian:
Thanks for sharing your experience. I am reluctant to give advice, as I don't know the details of your situation.

I assume that when you say you are an identity victim, that criminals stole your identity data (theft) and then used it (fraud) to open new loans. Obviously, if they stolen your bank account sign-in credentials, you want to change them immediately and notify your bank. If they have your actual bank account numbers, then you'll want to demand that your bank change your account.

If they stole you driver's license and credit cards, then you'll need to notify the RMV and those banks; and get replacements. Regardless, you'll need to file a police report with local law enforcement, and with the FTC.

The Identity Theft Resource Center ( http://www.idtheftcenter.org/ ) has specific materials for specific types of situations. You might browse their website and see what they suggest.

Should you decide to subscribe to a credit monitoring service, look for one that provides the details of all 3 major credit reports (monitoring), and helps with fixing any damage done by the criminals (resolution services). It seems that you may need both.

Good luck and let us know what happens.

George
Editor
http://ivebeenmugged.typepad.com

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