Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Putting LifeLock to the Test

by Doug Pollack

Right on the heels of the lawsuit filed by Experian against LifeLock, the self-proclaimed leader in identity theft protection, which asserts that LifeLock uses deceptive advertising and misleading claims in advertising their service, as well as illegal means of setting fraud alerts on behalf of their customers, now a CBS news report by Jim Benemann has put LifeLock to the test, along with two other companies, Debix and TrustedID, that rely on credit bureau fraud alerts or freezes for protecting their customers.

It seems that based on this test, these products do not prevent identity theft as you might be led to believe based on LifeLock's advertising. So on to the test. The first thing he did was have three of his colleagues, Tom, Jillian, and Kristine, each sign up for one of the three services. Then...

"With their permission, CBS4's Jim Benemann took all of Tom, Jillian and Kristine's personal information including their social security numbers and dates of birth. Using that information, Benemann applied for the same major credit card in each of their names. The only little thing he changed was the address. Benemann asked for those credit cards to be mailed to his home address. Essentially, he stole Kristine's, Tom's and Jillian's identities.

The three testers weren't worried. They all figured they would get that phone call telling them that someone was applying for credit in their name and they would put a stop to it immediately. Tom waited, Jillian waited and Kristine waited close to their phones. They waited 24 hours, then 48 hours and then a week. Not one of them got a phone call from any creditor even though they had paid companies for credit protection."

It is worth noting, that a fraud alert can easily be placed by an individual for free, just by contacting the credit bureau. Unfortunately services like these make the fraud alert seem like a "silver bullet" for preventing identity theft. As this test proves, nothing could be further from the truth. The reporter goes on to note:

"And remember Kristine who signed up with LifeLock? A little more than a week after Benemann applied for a credit card in her name, that card arrived, mailed to him, at his home address. And that had Kristine all the more interested in finding out about LifeLock's $1 million guarantee...Here is what LifeLock had to say:

'The credit card companies have a contract with the credit bureaus that say they must honor fraud alerts. The fact that they chose not to is proof that the fraud alerts are not bulletproof. The good news is that this is where the LifeLock $1 million guarantee is most effective. LifeLock is not a credit monitoring service but a protection service in the event a fraud alert proves to be ineffective.' "

Having said that, LifeLock didn't clarify how they then provide "protection" for the victim of ID theft. In the past, LifeLock had outsourced victim recovery services to other companies. It would be instructive to know what they do for their victims today.


Anonymous said...

So if LifeLock doesnt work does that mean that their $1 million guarentee wont back them up? Duh. What a dumb article.

"Hey everyone, my Chevy has a 50,000 mile powertrain warranty...and the transmission just went out. I should throw the car away and forget that Chevy said they would pay for it because nothing is perfect in this world."

Anonymous said...

Who can blame LifeLock for getting paid while not doing anything of real substance. I thought only politicians were the ones who could mislead the public without any real consequence...I guess LifeLock is finding out otherwise, good luck Experian!

Anonymous said...

The point of the article is that companies like Lifelock are creating a false sense of security for the consumers based on credit fraud alerts and freezes.

These companies do nothing but rely on the creditor, who's sole motivation is to open the account to create a revenue stream, to make the contact and alert the consumer someone is trying to use their identity.

The $1M guarantee does nothing to repair your credit or other areas (criminal records, medical, financial). You still loose countless hours repairing the damage that has been done by the thieves.

Open you eyes to the entire picture!

Lifelock Scam said...

Some comments are making it seem like Lifelock is a scam. This is not true. In this one test two out of three people were protected. The next test might show one of the other companies failing. Even at 2 out of 3 that is protection you never had before. These companies also back up the financial loss with guarantees and they do provide recovery services. This is important as there is no full proof identity theft protection. Read the article Identity Protection - Do I Really Need It for more detailed information. It also compares Lifelock, Loudsiren Debix and TrustedId so you can find the right fit for you. Remember, just because Lifelock did not suceed in one test only means it is not full proof not that it is not effective protection.

Mike said...

Concise instructions on how consumers can get most of the services offered by Lifelock, for FREE by doing the work themselves, are available here

Anonymous said...

I thought I would make you aware of something with TrustedID. An article was written about them recently here: http://www.identitytheftsecrets.com/trusted-id-promotion-code-discount-coupon-review-interview.html .

In that article, CEO Scott Mitic claims that he founded TrustedID because of his wife suffering identity theft. This is a fabrication. He and the other cofounder have both stated to multiple publications on several occasions that TrustedID was founded based on co-founder Omar Ahmad's BROTHER-IN-LAW allegedly suffering identity theft.


In USA Today, "TrustedID was started by former Napster chief information officer Omar Ahmad largely because Ahmad's brother-in-law was the victim of ID theft...Ahmad, 42, says. "I was pissed off." (http://www.usatoday.com/tech/news/2006-08-30-dot-fun_x.htm)

"Ahmad launched the company, he told us at the time, because his brother-in-law was a victim of ID theft." (http://venturebeat.com/2007/03/20/roundup-cognitions-search-jaxtr-trustedid-appletv-palms-sale/)

In the Financial Times: "Omar Ahmad gained an insight into the impact of identity theft when his brother-in-law, a Department of Justice attorney, fell victim. "Even with all the tools at his disposal, he had a problem," says the co-founder of TrustedID" (http://us.ft.com/ftgateway/superpage.ft?news_id=fto051620061445178348)

Anonymous said...

LifeLock cleary states that if your Identity is compromised, it will completely repair any damage done. This extends to all ID Theft, Medical and Legal. They also clearly state that you can do this all for free, like changing your oil. I personally know someone who LifeLock has helped tremendously. Don't forget the man they helped on the Montel Williams show. Until someone, i.e. the government, gives consumers another means to prevent ID Theft, setting fraud alerts are the only way to keep your ID safe. Unless you want to spend the day on the phone with the three major credit bureaus dealing with a credit freeze. My hat is off to companies actually making the credit bureaus liable. Come on, they SELL our information to the credit card companies!

Rob Penland said...

The suit between Lifelock and Experian is troubling in many ways. First, it tend to expose the weaknesses in the credit system itself and give identity thieves ideas and new tactics. Further, Lifelock, being the most advertised of the newer services out there, is looking as though it is a fraudulent service which calls into question the efficacy of all of these services. The problem of identity theft is real, and people who are concerned about it need to realize that once your information is compromised, you can be victimized again and again. Credit monitoring is not the solution. If someone is using my social security number to get a job or my driver's license to mask their previous criminal behavior, how will credit monitoring (Any credit monitoring) help me? The answer is, it won't. Credit monitoring in and of itself is not the solution, so beware before purchasing any type of credit monitoring product. Look for a service that can protect ALL forms of identity theft.

Anonymous said...

I review getting good idea and view that written here about life lock they always protect the people and monitor them full time, if you getting more knowledge visit this site, it is updated and quality site I hope you getting good knowledge. http://www.identitytheftprotectionlock.com/

Anonymous said...

Looks like Todd Davis failed the real test.. look at this:


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