Sunday, May 25, 2008

Well, he was asking for it...

Normally, someone getting their identity stolen isn't news. It's annoying for the victim, but not of great enough consequence for the rest of the world to bear reporting. However, in this case, the person who's ID was stolen was Todd Davis. While that name might not be immediately familiar, it's a good bet you've seen Mr. Davis in the near-ubiquitous online adds for Lifelock, where he poses with his social security card to show just how confident he is in Lifelock's services. Thus, for him to have his identity stolen is not just news, it's also the trigger for a lawsuit by Lifelock customers saying that David's identity theft shows that he knew his product didn't work, even as he promoted it nationwide.
Of course, the filing of a lawsuit, and a decision by a court that Lifelock is liable for damages are two totally different things. Indeed, I'm not sure that the existence of one identity theft incident shows that Davis knew his service didn't work. Davis has been flashing his complete social security number all over the internet for years. The fact that he was only victimized once in that time seems (to me at least) to show that Lifelock's services really do work to mitigate the threat of identity theft, though they can't eliminate it entirely.

1 comment:

John Taylor said...

I love to wade in on stuff like this. I won't list all the forms that identity theft can take on, nor will I indulge you on the subject of the time delays from theft to usage. Remember, ID numbers including SSNs, drivers license #s, medical IDs, account and routing #s, student IDs, telephone #s, and so on are bought and sold many times and re-aggregated and sold again and again. By the time an ID theft incident occurs several years could have elapsed.
If issuing a fraud alert to the credit bureaus stops fraudulent use of an SSN in opening new credit accounts has it stopped identity theft? Remember, although financial identity theft while being the single largest category of reported cases (FTC stat), it only comprises less than 30% of identity theft. Lifelock does the public great harm by misinformation. Identity theft is so much more than a credit issue, and the other forms are far more serious and much more difficult to tackle. When a woman in Northern California discovered that after applying for a job that 81 people were already using the same SSN for employment. Do you think for a moment that Lifelock could help her?
Let me also say that if an American believes he/she has been victimized then they have the right to request their own fraud alerts from each bureau at no cost. We also know that Lifelock is calling the credit bureaus pretending to be the victim (an unlawful act), in order to request the fraud alert. Where does the $10/mo Lifelock charges go?