Apparently, It’s Not A Good Idea To Publicly Dare Identity Thieves….
For those of you living in a cave somewhere, Lifelock came to national prominence by its bold advertising. To illustrate how well Lifelock protected its members, Todd Davis, the CEO of Lifelock displayed his social security number on billboards, full page print media ads, on the radio, and all over the web daring identity thieves to steal it.
It’s been well reported that in June 2007, an identity thief did in fact use Davis’ social security number to obtain a $500 loan from a check-cashing company. Lifelock explained the theft away as an “aberration” and used the incident to highlight the resolution aspects of Lifelock’s protection.
To quote a line from Princess Bride, “I don’t think that word (aberration) means what you think it means.”
According to an investigation by the Phoenix New Times, Lifelock CEO Todd Davis has been the victim of identity theft at least 13 times. That’s 12 more times than previously believed despite the full force of Lifelock’s protection.
In October 2007, Davis’ identity was stolen again by someone in Albany, Georgia, who opened an AT&T wireless account using his Social Security number, according to a police report obtained by the New Times. The perpetrator racked up $2,390 in charges on the account, which remained unpaid. Davis, whose real name according to police reports is Richard Todd Davis, only learned a year later that his identity had been stolen again after AT&T handed off the debt to a collection agency and a note appeared on his credit report.
Davis later discovered seven additional fraudulent accounts on his credit report that were opened with his social security number and name. All of the accounts had unpaid balances.
Someone opened a Verizon account in New York, leaving an unpaid bill of at least $186. An account at Centerpoint Energy, a Texas utility, was delinquent $122. Credit One Bank was owed $573, and Swiss Colony, a gift-basket company, was seeking $312.
In addition to these amounts, Davis’s credit report showed five collection agencies were seeking other sums from accounts opened in his name: Bay Area Credit was pursuing $265; Associated Credit Services was seeking two debts in the amount of $207 and $213; Enhanced Recovery Corporation was chasing $250 and $381.
First of all, people have this misconception that Lifelock or any other identity theft service claims complete protection against identity theft. Lifelock (or any other service) only claims to drastically reduce the chance of you becoming a victim of identity thief and this story should highlight that point.
This marketing stunt by Lifelock has only resulted in 13 instances of identity fraud?. That’s a testament to how well it does work.
But while identity theft services are worth it for the protection they provide, it’s in the identity resolution services where consumers will find real value. As somebody who’s experienced identity theft, I can tell you it’s a complete drain on your emotions, your time, and instills a powerful sense of personal violation that’s difficult to explain. Having a resolution expert walk you through resolving the fraud is something you’ll be extremely grateful for if it ever happens to you.
Sure, this is an embarrassing story for Lifelock and I’m certain their PR firm is running around figuring out the best way to spin this. If I were in charge, I’d say “Only thirteen times?…”