The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reported:
"LifeLock, Inc. has agreed to pay $11 million to the Federal Trade Commission and $1 million to a group of 35 state attorneys general to settle charges that the company used false claims to promote its identity theft protection services, which it widely advertised by displaying the CEO’s Social Security number on the side of a truck. In one of the largest FTC-state coordinated settlements on record, LifeLock and its principals will be barred from making deceptive claims and required to take more stringent measures to safeguard the personal information they collect from customers. “While LifeLock promised consumers complete protection against all types of identity theft, in truth, the protection it actually provided left enough holes that you could drive a truck through it,” said FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz."
Lifelock began marketing its service in 2006. Radio entertainer Rush Limbaugh promoted the service. In 2008, the credit reporting agency Experian sued Lifelock. During the same year, consumers in several states sued Lifelock about the quality of its service.
The FTC news release also added:
"The FTC’s complaint charged that the fraud alerts that LifeLock placed on customers’ credit files protected only against certain forms of identity theft and gave them no protection against the misuse of existing accounts, the most common type of identity theft. It also allegedly provided no protection against medical identity theft or employment identity theft, in which thieves use personal information to get medical care or apply for jobs. And even for types of identity theft for which fraud alerts are most effective, they do not provide absolute protection."
From time to time, friends and coworkers ask me what I think of Lifelock's service. I usually direct them to the product review by the folks at Consumers Reports. And I encourage them to closely review the Lifelock terms of the service, so they know what they are paying for. I also encourage them to read this blog so they can learn what they can do themselves -- like fraud alerts -- for free.