Does LifeLock Charge Extra To Coerce Suspected Identity Thieves?

from the smooth-move dept

LifeLock, a company that sells some identity theft protection services that consumers could get for free, got some bad press last month. Not only did it come out that one of the company’s founders had allegedly stolen personal information from customers of another business he owned, it was also disclosed that LifeLock’s services failed to protect the company’s CEO from identity theft. A man in the Dallas area used the CEO’s social security number — which is prominently displayed in LifeLock’s marketing materials — to obtain a $500 loan, and police were waiting to get some subpoenaed information when the CEO took things into his own hands. He showed up at the fraudster’s house with a film crew, and apparently coerced a confession out of the guy, who police say is mentally disabled. The confession is legally worthless, and police and prosecutors say it’s tainted the case, so they’re not going to proceed with their investigation, and have no plans to arrest the suspect. So, it would appear, that not only do LifeLock’s anti-identity theft measures not work, the company also manages to bungle the prosecution of identity thieves.

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Companies: lifelock

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Comments on “Does LifeLock Charge Extra To Coerce Suspected Identity Thieves?”

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81 Comments
Overcast says:

Did the CEO give himself the 500 Dollars they use for their ‘guarantee’?

Our $1 Million Guarantee

Our Guarantee is simple. If you are our client when someone steals your personal information and subsequently misuses it, we will reimburse any and all direct expenses that you incur and pay for professionals with the proper expertise. The maximum amount that we will pay is $1 million over the life of the incident.

Is this like ‘Tamper Proof’ Voting, or ID’s?

I’m guessing it’s still more secure!

Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased) says:

I guess it doesn't work

There couldn’t possibly be a good outcome for LifeLock after this point. A mentally disabled person was able to foil their anti-identity theft services, on the CEO of the company! Their service must suck or this disabled man is really a mastermind, like Kaiser Soze(spelling?) in The Usual Suspects. If you haven’t seen the movie, sorry I spoiled it, but it is a twelve-year-old movie.

Fred says:

Re: Lifelock CEO is Todd Davis, not Moore

WOW, that was a FANTASTIC article, THANK YOU for posting that. My father asked my opinion about LifeLock, I did some google searching, things seemed odd with the supposed ‘reviews’ of the service, and your article told me why and revealed a TON about this guy and this company. I for one am going to make sure this get’s passed on to some of those that ‘should’ know so this can get out there to in the least, now keep this company and it’s creators honest with this truth being out there. Thanks again. READ IT ALL…

Andrew says:

haha, $10 a month? You can get the service for free by contact any credit reporting agency. Just tell them you want your SSN to be protected. They will ask a few questions to verify your information. Then you give them your phone #.

Anytime someones runs your SSN for a credit score, credit check, etc, etc.. The store will receive a red flag saying that you must call this # b4 proceeding with the application.

Tom Dejoira says:

They are advertising like mad

While truth about Lifelock is being told here in these forums, They are advertising like mad in magazines throughout the country. When I fly/travel, I pick up several magazines to read. Today I bought Inc, Forbes and Men’s Journal. Lifelock had full page ads in Forbes, Inc and the continental airlines magazine. I guess they are making a HUGE profit from the suckers that sign up for the services.

This is such a sham. Taking advantage of those that know no better. As mentioned above, lifelocks services can be had for free with a coupld simple phone calls. If you lose a card, or see a suspicious charge ,etc. pick up the phone and call any one of the three reporting agencies. By law they have to notify the other two. To be extra safe, make two more phone calls and let all three know you suspect fraud.
You have a couple options, 1.) have them put a “fraud alert” on your account. This is free. Anytime someone checks your credit there will be a flag that shows there is an alert. THis normally looks suspicious to credit issuers. The risk here is that the issuers can ignore it and issue credit anyway. But most wont if they see it.

Option 2 is you ask the credit reporting agencies to put a “freeze” on your account. This means no one will be able to access your account and consequently wont be able to issue any new credit. Your account is locked. Most states now require that the agencies provide this service to consumers. Although, the fees vary state to state. Typically its around $10. A small fraction of what Lifelock costs. Not to mention you may never need to pay this.

Lifelock is a joke. They charge for what I’ve mentioned above. Oh yes, and the insurance. Yes they provide some insurance, but keep in mind credit card fraud (by law) has a $50 max out of pocket expense for the consumer. THis insurance is meant to cover costs of dealing with the fraud (time off work, etc) this is very hard to monitize. Imagine fighting this one out with the insurance company. Especially when it really doesnt take any time to put up the fraud alerts.

Ive spoke with a financial institution that offer these services to their consumers. Which many are starting to do. when I asked how many of their customers actually used the services due to an incident the response was incredibly low. Only 4 out of 60,000 customers of this bank needed to use the service over the past two years.

Lifelock also targets financial institutions trying to get them to pay for the service (at a discounted rate) and passing the service along to the customer as a benefit of opening an account at the financial institution. A competitive advantage. Its another way to suck money out of someone.

The only benefit any of these companies can provide is person to person hand holding. That may be worth something to not even have to make the phone calls. But to me its certainly not. I just went through it myself (someone was using my name on stolen checks). Lifelock would not have helped at all int his case.

Jenn says:

Re: They are advertising like mad

I needed to see this! thanks so much! I am going to tell my hubby NO to lifelock. Guess I should purchase the Equifax credit monitor thing?? My CC numbers were stolen. I have no idea how. I have to report to the police tomorrow. Already closed the account. This is a freakin’ nusiance.

Stalker says:

Lack of basic comprehension

Does no one understand the concept of paying someone for a job you don’t want to do yourself? Of course you can wash your own windows by just picking up a rag and doing it, but it’s a hell of a lot easier to pay someone else to do it for you. It’s not a sham, it’s an effing SERVICE. Not to mention the $1000000 insurance you get for only $99. Anyone who thinks this company is scamming people must be a complete retard.

JewmaninTX (Micha'el L.) (user link) says:

Life Lock, A Scam? Mnnnnnnah Could Be! :)

When my dad saw the commercial, about the SSN bring driven
around, he balked, and laughed at the idiot who would do
such a thing! I didn’t know any better about Life Lock, only
that it is a scam, and that I called the “customer service”
only to find they REFUSE TO ACCEPT money orders, checks, or
cashier’s checks. It is a scam, they only want your credit
card number, or debit card. If any business refuses money
orders, cashier’s checks, personal checks over the phone,
or provide a snail mail address is usually assumed a safe
bet that they ARE a scam, only to take your money! Trust me,
if a business don’t provide a physical address, or some sort
of alternative payment option, usually is too good to be
true, a scam, and they had some old professional looking
guy’s being filmed at lunch rush hour, nice office complex
to give the false professional sense that the guy being
“interviewed” is legitimate, and if you notice they don’t
film average people, just people in makeup who brag about
Life Lock, and make you whip out your credit card, only to
be fooled in the long term.

Good practical business sense and spidey senses would tell
you, No Physical Address, only a P.O. Box address, refusal
to accept snail mail payments (money order, cashier’s check
or personal check over the phone also) and insist only your
credit card number, or check debit number with high pressure
or shock treatment info / commercials will tell you, they
are a fraud, and must be reported to the B.B.B. or your
lawyer on retainer (if you have one great!) to check or
research them out. Validate, Confirm, and Verify everything.
Chances are, if they only want your credit card and provide
only a website, and toll free number, it is a scam!

Greg says:

Re: Life Lock, A Scam? Mnnnnnnah Could Be! :)

I’m undecided on this issue, but after reading your post decided to try to find the company address on their website. Took me just a couple seconds and it’s not a PO box. This is the only site I found via google that had much of anything bad to say about this company.

LifeLock
60 E. Rio Salado Parkway
Suite 400
Tempe, AZ 85281

Bill (user link) says:

Identity Theft Restoration

All the credit card companies offer some sort of Identity Theft monitoring for a fee. They will notify you if there is activity and advise you how to fix it. Anyone can put an alert on the credit bureaus to stop access without a password. They also may charge a fee.
The problem is, your information is already out there. The IRS has had 490 laptops lost or stolen since 2003. (Google it) Is your ssn on one of them? Where do you think all these illegals are getting their ssn for employment? I can go to my local flea market and buy one for $50!
The only company that I am aware of that will monitor and RESTORE your identity is PrePaid Legal Service’s Identity Theft Shield. http://www.prepaidlegal.com/hub/wbodie

David R.W. Wadsworth says:

Re: Identity Theft Restoration

I was recently the victim of identify theft but I had pt on a Fraud Alert a couple months go and the Internet Cash Transfer company called to confirm. I saved $20,000. But the Police have been as worthless as tits on a boar. I gave them all the information two days later but the have failed to investigate the charges to my credit cards or even subpeona the info from the merchants. I can not do it. The police MUST!

Granted, it only took me a few hours to call everyone I needed to call and resport the theft but as I get older and stupider, I’m easily swayed by unscrupulous people.

Thanks for being there!

J Meadows says:

My lifelock Expierance

Hello potential lifelock customer!
I would just like to say what a piece of crap company your about to waste your money on! I joined lifelock for most likely the same reason you are, because I am concerned about identity theft, so I payed $100.00 for a year. I was assured that if anyone tried to use my credit to buy a new car or get credit cards that I would be notified. So I put Lifelock to the test. I applied for credit in a variety of stores and was never notified of anything! I then told lifelock about this, and a couple of days later they email me back saying that it wasn’t thier responsibilty to call me!! I then cancelled my account, with NO APOLOGY from Lifelock. A couple of days later my email box is spammed with email from lifelock, with offers of thier new crap “walletlock” service. I then tried to call Lifelock to inform them to stop spamming me, and I was on hold for 20 minutes, and no one ever picked up! So I tried another department within Lifelock to see if they could help me, I was answered by a disinterested sounding woman who said the only thing she could do was transfer me back to customer service! So after waiting another 15 minutes with no answer I gave up. I strongly urge you NOT to waste your money with these frauds! I have already informed my entire workplace not to sign up with these guys, and I strongly urge you to spread the word!

Mark M. says:

Re: My lifelock Expierance

J. Meadows backs up exactly what I expected when I was thinking about signing up. In fact, I sent two emails to Jeff Critchley, Director of Client Relations for Lifelock, regarding Lifelock’s $1 Million Guarantee. The first email was sent 11/11/07. I have not received a reply to date.

Basically what I submitted to Jeff Critchley for clarification was as follows:

Lifelock makes the following statement on the “How Lifelock Works” section of their website,

“If your Identity is stolen while you are our client, we’re going to do whatever it takes to recover your good name. If you need lawyers, we’re going to hire the best we can find. If you need investigators, accountants, case managers, whatever, they’re yours. If you lose money as a result of the theft, we’re going to give it back to you.

We will do whatever it takes to help you recover your good name and we will spend up to $1,000,000 to do it.”

Wow, I thought–they will “do whatever it takes to recover my good name”. After reading this statement, I sure didn’t expect that the most likely reason I would have credit fraudulently taken out in my name while a client of Lifelock, would not, in my opinion, be covered by Lifelock. Notice I said, “in my opinion”. I say that because Lifelock has not responded with a clarification yet–and I suspect they haven’t responded because I AM RIGHT! Follow my arguments below and you be the judge.

After reading their statement I included above, I then read their actual $1 Million Service Guarantee. In the guarantee, the first thing I noticed is that they nullified their entire statement that I included above by stating in their service guarantee,

“Other than our service guarantee, we make no representation or warranty about our service of any kind, and we disclaim any implied warranties outside of our service guarantee,…”

Hmmmmm, “we disclaim any implied warranties outside of our service guarantee”. Well there goes out the window their “implied warranty” that they will “do whatever it takes to recover my good name” as stated on their website.

So, since I can only rely on statements within their service guarantee, I dug further into their service guarantee to look for any limitations that they probably wouldn’t want me to find.

Oh, hmmm, well lookie here–check out this statement in their service guarantee,

“If you are our client when someone accesses your personal identifying information and subsequently uses it without your authorization to commit a fraud, due to a failure or defect in our Service,…”

Isn’t that little qualifier interesting–“due to a failure or defect in our Service”.

So let me put a perspective on that qualifier. What is the most likely reason that someone would have an account opened fraudulently in their name while a customer of Lifelock? The answer: Because the creditor who was supposed to call you to let you know that someone was trying to open an account in your name failed to call you and opened the account anyway. So would Lifelock pay money up to $1 Million to help straighten out that mess? In my opinion they would say that they are not responsible for the acts of creditors and the fact that the creditor failed to do his job is not considered a “defect or failure in our service”. J. Meadows, who wrote of his experience with Lifelock above, has added evidence that Lifelock would respond to a creditor’s failure to make the phone call just as I suspected, “It’s not our responsibility to call you!”.

So, is Lifelock’s $1 Million Guarantee worth anything? In my opinion, NO!! To you, I highly suggest BUYER BEWARE!

I challenge Lifelock to relinquish their silence and respond to my allegations that they make implied warranties within statements on their website and then nullify the implied warranties in their service guarantee. Lifelock should make a concrete statement within their service guarantee that states whether they DO or DO NOT spend their guarantee money on clients who have had an account fraudulently opened due to the failure of a creditor to call the client. That way, potential clients could see the guarantee for what it actually is!

Here is my disclaimer in case you are wondering: I do not work for or have any financial interest in any of Lifelock’s competitors. I have no personal grudges with anyone at Lifelock. I simply am a person who was intrigued by Lifelock, thought it was too good to be true, and suspect that I was right.

Gary says compare LifeLock to Loudsiren here. (user link) says:

Re: My lifelock Expierance

LifeLock does have competitors, and these competitors have a much better insurance policy. In fact they are “real” insurance policies backed by real insurance companies like AIG and Lloyds of London. LoudSiren.com is a great example. They are the ones who signed up the States of Ohio and Conneticut, and recently the City of Nashville through Debix.com
A good comparison of companies can be found at IdentityTheftLabs.com

David R.W. Wadsworth says:

Re: My lifelock Expierance

What you need is s gmail acct. You see an email that is spam, you highlight it and cllck the spam button and you’ll never see another email from them again. My spam folder collects 500 spam email in two weeks. All I do is quickly run through the email to verify that they are all spam before deleting them all. Not bothered with spam on a daily basis!

Toddd says:

This is a scam BUT the other scam is local law enforcement and national credit card companies who RARELY IF EVER prosecute. This costs all of us a lot more than $10 a month in the grand scheme of things. My identity was stolen by someone I knew. I contacted the stores where the thefts took place and they saved surveillance footage. The police and credit card company were handed the information on a plate – and this WAS a felony amount of theft – and still chose not to prosecute.

So yes, this is a scam, but so are the cops and credit card companies.

Michael says:

Lifelock

I have had LifeLock for over 2 years and I personally know it works. When I changed telco providers and they ran a credit check, they could not get in, I had to approve them to check my credit. Someone went to my bank and tried to borrow money for a car, they were denied and I was called. I suppose if I gave my SS out to a few million people someone might get lucky that they would not check my credit. Ten bucks a month is cheap compared to what you would have to go thru if your ID was stolen.

ARJIS (user link) says:

Lifelock is now being sued!

Just goes to show, when you charge people for services they can get for free, some one will get wise and expose it.

Identity Theft doesn’t just affect your credit report. What about your other forms of Identity? These are all at risk:

Credit
DMV
SSN
Medical Records
Justice Records

Lifelock in no way addresses all of these areas of identity theft. If someone uses your identity at a hospital, your health insurance could be charged and your medical records tainted with another persons medical history. You may not be able to get medical insurance after that. Plus you’ll receive the bills.

What if someone used your name after getting picked up drunk driving? Wanna think about that one?

Identity theft is no joke and we are very much at risk. All of us. It is sad when you have untrustworthy people starting a company that claims it will protect you, and then uses less then honorable practices in its business dealings.

No wonder Experian labelled Lifelock a fraud and filed suit on February 13th, 2008

Kerri says:

I am still unsure if I should sign up for lifelock. I don’t agree that it is a “scam.” It could be a waste of money, doing things for you that you could do yourself. Which is, as someone else said, a “service.” Maybe I don’t WANT to do it myself. Contact the credit card companies, credit reporters, blah blah. I think they DO put a block on your credit, but some cards may go through anyway because the person who is issuing the card IGNORES the block. I feel like everyone is saying that if a system only works 90% of the time, it is a scam. No, it is the real world. Nothing is perfect. I think the main benefit of this service is that they will routinly notify people not to share your info so you don’t have to bother with notifying them yourself. I would get it for added protection, but not to rely on it to fix EVERYTHING for me if someone got ahold of my credit.
The guy before me said “lifelock should be sued and shut down….” For what, exactly? Maybe their claims are over the top, but what companies aren’t? You could sue just about everyone.

Antuan Ward says:

Life Lock is a Fraud

With all the technology out there, there is no possible way you can keep out ID theives. Pre-Paid Legal’s ID Theft Plan is best. It lets you know if someone is using your identity as soon as it happens and then they use a top company(Kroll)to investigate everything on their own while you worry about going on with your life.

Call this number if you all want more info. on Pre-Paid Legals ID Theft Shield. 334-498-0771 PPL Associate

Kevin (user link) says:

Best service is ID Theft Shield

Here’s a link to the PDF file of the lawsuit complaint issued by Experian: http://media.phoenixnewtimes.com/1915273.0.pdf

ID Theft Shield is the ONLY service that provides RESTORATION (as opposed to resolution assistance) services so you don’t have to take time off work, etc. to restore your good name. ID Theft Shield by Kroll is offered through Pre-Paid Legal (NYSE: PPD, current price $46.87), a legitimate company that has stood the test of time. I am a customer and associate because I like the services and have benefitted from both the legal services and ID Theft Shield.

For more information on both services, see my web page at http://www.prepaidlegal.com/hub/kraineri.

If you run a business, check out http://www.veritechglobal.com for information on the FACTA law and how you need to be aware of the prudent steps you need to take to minimize your exposure to liability under that law if ID theft occurs in your business.

I work for a company that makes a new generation of credit cards called Powered Smart Cards. They have a built-in display on the front of the card and when you press a button, it displays a 6-digit one-time use password for logging into websites and purchasing things on the web. That one-time password along with your PIN makes a two-factor authentication that cannot be hacked. Watch this technology as it makes its way to the banks and becomes the new standard card to protect your identity when logging in or buying things online. See http://www.identita.com for more info.

There are a lot of precautions you can take to minimize your exposure, detect when ID theft may be happening to you and getting help and services to protect or defend against legal issues and the time lost if you have to restore your good name. Just be diligent in your research before you choose a service.

IdentityTheftSecrets.com (user link) says:

Recent Experian Lawsuit against Lifelock

We’ve been talking a lot with and about Lifelock recently, and there are many people who just don’t know what’s actually going on in the credit reporting/credit protection industry.

This tends to be stuff that most people don’t think about, but companies like Lifelock are challenging an industry which is controlled by three credit reporting companies, who are really entrenched in protecting their position in the market, which is likely what’s going on here.

Thanks for a great post.

It would be interesting to hear what TechDirt thinks about the lawsuit.

Identity Theft Labs (user link) says:

Re: Recent Experian Lawsuit against Lifelock

We agree. The Experian lawsuit is just a negotiation with LifeLock so that they too can profit from the Identity Theft market. Experian already has deals with other identity protection companies such as LoudSiren and TrustedID which allow these companies to place fraud alerts by automated means. These deals show that even Experian doesn’t believe their own allegations against LifeLock.

IdentityTheftSecrets.com (user link) says:

Recent Experian Lawsuit against Lifelock

We’ve been talking a lot with and about Lifelock recently, and there are many people who just don’t know what’s actually going on in the credit reporting/credit protection industry.

This tends to be stuff that most people don’t think about, but companies like Lifelock are challenging an industry which is controlled by three credit reporting companies, who are really entrenched in protecting their position in the market, which is likely what’s going on here.

Thanks for a great post.

It would be interesting to hear what TechDirt thinks about the lawsuit against Lifelock by Experian.

Victim of ID theft using LifeLock says:

Don't buy it

An identity thief was able to use my credit card and address with a phony name to set up a LifeLock account. Lifelock apparently didn’t verify the name on the credit card itself or they wouldn’t have done it.

What do you say about that Todd????????? You expect people to believe you can’t protect there identity when you can’t even verify the owner/identity on the credit card used to purchase your service!!!! WHAT A JOKE…YOUR COMPANY IS GOING TO BE SOOOO SCREWED!

LT says:

Thank you all for saving my money!!!!

after reading all of this i definitely will not be using lifelock!!! i had been looking into it mainly for my child after hearing so many of the radio ads and tv news shows. there are so many scams out there that sound good and make sense but i have learned to do a little research before spending the cash now….. thanks again everyone!!

Jeff Zander says:

Don't be fooled!

What most people fail to realize is that credit related ID Theft gets all the news attention but is responsible for only 50% of the ID Theft occurrences. Medical ID Theft, Employment, Utility, Wireless, IRS and Social Security Fraud are all on the rise and are completely unprotected by LifeLock’s product and guarantee. Even if you become a victim of creedit related ID Theft their guarantee and services only apply if they are a direct result from the faiilure or defect of their service…which is placing fraud alert on your credit report. So if you become a victim because the lender does not check your credit report,(like many credit card companies) or they do and ignore the fraud alert,(as occurs frequently) then there is no protection. Just ask the President of the company that has had his identity stolen and in essence would not have been protected due to this exact situation. They are all hype and really are a pariah of the industry. My company does sell a competing plan but my advise to all is to find a plan that covers all ID theft regardless of the type and takes over all the work if you do become a victim. This is known as a fully managed restoration plan and several companies offer this type of service. Sice there is no way to eliminate the risk of ID Theft having a plan that is broad in what it does protect if the event occurs is the way to go. Otherwise you are better of keeping your money and going without. Check out a recent article in Kiplinger’s (“Do I really need ID Theft?”)which reaffirms this opinion.

Considering but decided not to apply says:

Lack of basic comprehension

If you read the insurance information ($1 mil), this does NOT include reimbursement for any losses you experience except reimbursement for anything you paid out to correct the identity issue (no monies for purchases that may have been made due to fake ids and checks, cleaning out your bank account with fake checks etc). They only spend up to $1M to pay their professionals to correct what happened to allow the breech to occur. Read their agreement carefully.

scooter says:

ID theft

my wife and i used a company called optoutdetectives.com we had lifelock and compaired services and what you get. we actually found them to be a more realistic company. everyone says you can do what lifelock offers yourself if you research it. optoutdetectives.com provided us with everything to do and more than lifelock for a one time cost.

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