Because I still have a Facebook account, I really want to protect my personal information.
So I'm forced to be in a prostrate position while writing this, as you should be in reading it, for this news might trouble your equilibrium.
Do you remember those ads for LifeLock, the company that claims it will protect your personal information so carefully it'll be made useless to nefarious types? You know, the ads where the CEO displays his Social Security number to make his point? That's right--the ones where any random viewer looks at LifeLock's CEO and says: "You're nuts"?
Well, the New Times of Phoenix has taken it upon itself to investigate just how secure LifeLock 's service might really be. And the quest seems, in some strange way, enjoyable--as well as instructive.
After a 2007 New Times expose on LifeLock's founding, news surfaced that CEO Todd Davis' personal details had, indeed, been stolen--a Texan had used Davis' SSN to wrangle a $500 loan. Now it appears there have been many more instances of Davis' commercial openness being used by others for illicit gain.
In October 2007, someone in Albany, Ga., took out an AT&T wireless account using Davis' name, resulting in an unpaid bill that may have been as high as $2,300, the New Times said. The news outlet also reported that a LifeLock representative called Georgia police last year to report that a horde of fake Davises appeared to be marauding America.
Objects of their deception have included Verizon, Credit One Bank, the Gap, and even a gift basket company called Swiss Colony, according to the New Times. There were also quite a few collection agencies that seemed to be on the hunt for hot Toddys.
Oh, and in case you're wondering if this is the same LifeLock that was fined $12 million for deceptive business practices, including false-advertising claims, why, your memory would, indeed, be secure in that thought.
Being of a singularly naive and optimistic nature, I went to the LifeLock site in order to learn about something called its "$1 million service guarantee."
This very helpful offer (which doesn't apply in New York--presumably because you expect people to try to steal everything there) says that if you happen to become a victim of identity theft because of "some failure or defect in our service," the company will "spend up to $1 million to hire lawyers, investigators, consultants, and whatever else it takes to restore your name and help you recover the direct losses from the identity theft."
I wonder, therefore, whether LifeLock has indeed spent several million dollars to hire people to restore its own CEO's good name. This assumes, naturally, that these multiple instances of identity theft were the result of some failure or defect in LifeLock's service, rather than the fact that its CEO kept putting his Social Security number in large type on the side of trucks.