In 2007, Todd Davis’ face was everywhere. On billboards, buses, park benches- you name it. The CEO of LifeLock was featured in TV and print advertising, and he came with a bold claim that his monthly service would eliminate the threat of identity theft, or his company would back it up with $1 million of coverage. Then to really drive home the point, he displayed his social security number on all of the advertisements, essentially daring people to try and steal his identity. Since those ads begin to circulate, Davis has had his identity stolen 13 times, and possibly more.
If there is one thing you should never do, it’s taunt hackers. It is like claiming that you have an “understanding” with grizzly bears, and that they would never attack you, right before- (spoiler alert)- you and your girlfriend are killed and eaten by a grizzly and a friend and documentary filmmaker turns it into a movie. To quote another animal based expression, “you mess with the bull, you get the horns”.
The Phoenix New Times is reporting that the LifeLock CEO has had his identity purloined at least 13 times, possibly more, since posting his social security number. The LifeLock service was supposed to act as a guarantee that subscribers that paid the $15 per month would face a secure, identity theft-free presence on the internet. As to how the service worked- well, it kind of doesn’t.
In March of this year, the Federal Trade Commission fined LifeLock $12 million and essentially declared the service to be a scam. The idea is simple, so simple that you could do it yourself,and if there is a specific threat, you should. When you think your identity has been stolen, you can call one of the three major credit companies, TransUnion, Experian or Equifax. Once you contact one of the three and tell them of the possible theft, the other two will be informed and a “fraud alert” is placed on your account. If a thief then attempts to start a credit card under the stolen name for example, the card issuers would then check the name with one of the three credit companies, and if there is a flag, they will contact the person whose identity was stolen. The fraud flag expires after three months. For $15 a month, LifeLock will call the credit companies every 90 days or so and make sure the fraud flag remains on the person’s credit records indefinitely. That’s it. They also offer a form of insurance of up to $1 million.
Since Davis’ bold claims of immunity from online identity theft, he has accumulated a $500 loan, several unpaid cell phone bills, and thousands of dollars in credit card debt that were a direct result of identity theft. More thefts may have occurred that have not been reported as well.