For information on Lifelock Ultimate, read our review here.
Lifelock’s Basic Service May Leave Some Consumers Feeling Exposed…
In December 2003, Lifelock made waves in the credit industry after the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act, or FACTA forced credit bureaus to allow consumers to place fraud alerts on their credit reports. This in turn forced lenders to verify your identity before extending credit or loans in your name. Fraud alerts are temporary and expire after 90 days. Considering that credit bureaus derive a considerable portion of their income from selling your information, they probably weren’t too keen on consumers restricting access to their credit files. They didn’t mind this too much since the percentage of consumers that were even aware such options existed-much less use them-was minuscule.
Enter Todd Davis and Lifelock.
In its early days, Lifelock built their business around the ability to place fraud alerts and renew them on your behalf, effectively making them permanent.
The credit bureaus sued and argued that Lifelock was trying to “game the system” of fraud alerts to make a profit. In May of 2009, a federal judge ruled that Lifelock can no longer place fraud alerts on its customer’s credit profiles. Since then, Lifelock has moved away from fraud alerts and evolved into a sophisticated identity monitoring service centered around detecting early signs of identity fraud. In January 2010, Lifelock launched an upgraded protection service called Command Center that offers scanning of public databases such as court records and sex offender registry reports.
Is Lifelock A Scam?
With all the recent press about Lifelock, it’s no surprise many people may be a little weary about being sold a bill of goods. Lifelock has been sued, fined 12 million by the Federal Trade Commission for deceptive business practices, and their CEO, Todd Davis had his identity stolen at least 13 times. If you think this means identity theft services are one big scam, think again. Read more.
How Does Lifelock Work?
- Lifelock Identity Alert System™
Lifelock continually scans the internet and public databases and will alert you by e-mail, postal mail, and/or phone whenever they detect your personal information being used to apply for many forms of credit cards, wireless services, retail credit, utilities, check orders/reorders, mortgage loans, auto loans and non-credit related payday loans. If the application is fraudulent, Lifelock’s remediation team will take action to help protect your good name.
- $1 Million Total Service Guarantee
Lifelock members have access to a recovery specialist who will spend up to $1 million to hire lawyers, investigators, consultants and whatever else is needed to restore your name. It will not cover lost wages or business profits, direct out of business costs and lost opportunities.
Lifelock’s eRecon™ service will scan thousands of known criminal Web sites for the illegal selling or trading of your personal information such as your name, address, Social Security number, bank account numbers and credit card numbers. If they find a piece of your identity on one of these black market sites, they will alert you and help you take steps to resolve the problem.
A common way identity thieves operate is by redirecting your mail with a change of address request. Identity thieves can divert your mail to steal your personal and financial information. Lifelock will scan address databases nationwide to detect unauthorized change of address requests. If detected, they will notify you and work with you to help avoid further damage and restore accurate address information.
If your wallet or purse goes missing, a WalletLock™ specialist will help cancel and replace the lost contents of your wallet, including your credit/debit cards, driver’s license, social security card, insurance cards, checkbook – even travelers checks.
- Reduce Junk Mail
Lifelock will request your name be removed from marking and pre-approved mailing lists, another potential source of identity theft.
- 24-Hour Support
Lifelock maintains 24 hour direct access to account representatives.
At $9.00/month, Lifelock is reasonably priced and if you use any of our links, we’ve negotiated 30 days free and a $21.00 discount off the regular price. Unfortunately there are no price discounts for spouses but coverage for minors is offered at $22.50 per year.
The Lifelock Identity Alert™ system uses multiple technologies and data sources to scan credit applications for member’s personal and private information. Since the introduction of the system in September 2009, Lifelock has reported on and blocked more than 6,200 fraudulent applications for both credit and non-credit services before any damage could be done.
The basic Lifelock service includes eRecon™, TrueAddress™, and annual copies of your credit report. These services will scan over 10,000 underground sites for the illegal selling of your information and detect if your address has been changed in nationwide address databases but the lack of more frequent credit monitoring is a concern.
Lifelock offers the $1 Million Total Service Guarantee, 24-Hour member Service and the WalletLock™ service to help you if you become a victim of identity theft. The only issue with this is the $1 Million Guarantee doesn’t cover wage losses.
This is the service that started it all. Many of you may remember CEO Tod Davis boldly displaying his social security number all over the airwaves daring identity thieves to steal it. They did. According to the Phoenix New Times, Todd Davis has been the victim of identity theft over 13 times. Apparently it’s still a good idea to keep your social security number to yourself but the fact that after such a brazen display of his personal information, he’s only been victimized 13 times.
Is Lifelock Worth It?
But does that mean identity theft protection is a just a one big scam? Hardly. Consumers just have to understand that there’s no way to 100% guarantee you’ll never become a victim of identity theft. The proliferation of data breaches, online shopping, and internet banking means there are just too many ways for tech savvy thieves to get a hold of your identity. You simply can’t control who see’s your mortgage or auto loan application once you hand it over.
A good identity theft service drastically reduces the chances you’ll become a victim, will detect identity theft in its early stages, and provide invaluable support in resolving civil or criminal problems that may rise as a result of somebody else using your identity.
How Does Lifelock Compare?
In addition to everything Lifelock offers, TrustedID offers generous family plan pricing, antivirus protection, and medical benefits protection. Lifelock may have been the service that started it all but like so many other industries, the trailblazers may have the most market share but are usually not the ones who offer consumers the best value. The competitors who have to offer “more for less” to grab market share usually do.
THE GOOD: LifeLock is a decent identity theft protection service at a reasonable price. They basically single-handedly created the identity protection industry with their bold advertising and are the market leaders in the consumer identity protection industry.
THE BAD: If you are looking to provide protection for your entire household, TrustedID’s family plan offers near identical protection at a significant discount. While Lifelock charges per member, TrustedID charges one price per household. The savings can really add up if you have three or more members in your household. No credit monitoring.
For more information about Lifelock and its services, visit Lifelock.com. We’ve negotiated exclusive discounts for our readers, simply use any of our links to receive $21 off the regular price and 30 days free. No promotion code is necessary.