It was bound to happen sooner or later, Todd Davis (of LifeLock) is being sued by dissatisfied customers. Why? Because no one can really prevent identity theft.
At least not with the 100% guarantee that customers (justly) expect.
They’re suing Davis for representing the product as safe when he’s actually had someone successfully steal his identity at a payday loan company (because he gives out his SSN). So apparently the product doesn’t work…or so they say.
The suit also notes that the incident with the payday loan company is the only successful theft we know about but there may have been others which simply haven’t come to light yet. Even Davis admits that drivers licenses may have been issued in his name, simply because they don’t use to credit checks the way most SSN uses do. So people could be pretending to be him without actually damaging his credit score. Not as bad, perhaps, but not comforting either.
Is LifeLock worthless? I don’t know. It seems like one way of monitoring your credit activity. And if you don’t give out your social security number (like he did) you’re probably a bit safer.
But I don’t know if it’s really any better than your average credit monitoring service.
If you’re concerned about having your identity stolen and don’t plan to take out any loans or open new credit cards, there’s something you can do for much less than buying the LifeLock plan.
Contact each of the bureaus: Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax and have them put freezes on your credit. Each costs $10 to place and $10 to remove. So that’s $30 to totally freeze and $30 to totally remove. It should keep people from taking out any loans or opening any cards using your information. Even if you keep it frozen for only 7 months it’s still cheaper than LifeLock.
Plus, you can make the same fraud alerts that LifeLock does for free if you really think your identity has been compromised. Each of the credit bureaus has instructions on its site for how to contact them about that.
Then you can use annualcreditreport.com to get a free annual credit report from each bureau. Most suggest spacing them out to every 4 months from a different group, that way you’re always fairly on top of it. And you still only get one per company per year.
So why not try your own LifeLock instead?
The CNN article notes that LifeLock is also being sued in Arizona over a guarantee which apparently only covers a particular error and not any other identity theft as well as in California by Experian (the credit bureau) who claims that they’re misusing fraud alerts by placing them for all customers instead of for those who genuinely may have had their identity stolen.