Duh! Fraud-prevention pitchman becomes ID theft victim

Duh! Fraud-prevention pitchman becomes ID theft victim

This is a discussion on Duh! Fraud-prevention pitchman becomes ID theft victim within the Off Topic & Humor Discussion forums, part of the The Back Porch category; Have you ever seen those "LifeLock" commercials... where the owner actually gives his SS number on the air? He said his company could protect you ...

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  1. #1
    VIP Member Array JonInNY's Avatar
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    Duh! Fraud-prevention pitchman becomes ID theft victim

    Have you ever seen those "LifeLock" commercials... where the owner actually gives his SS number on the air? He said his company could protect you from identity theft. Well, his own identity was just stolen! (There's a moral here somewhere)

    Here's the story:

    Fraud-prevention pitchman becomes ID theft victim - CNN.com

    SAN JOSE, California (AP) -- Todd Davis has dared criminals for two years to try stealing his identity: Ads for his fraud-prevention company, LifeLock, even offer his Social Security number next to his smiling mug.

    Now, LifeLock customers in Maryland, New Jersey and West Virginia are suing Davis, claiming his service didn't work as promised and he knew it wouldn't, because the service had failed even him.

    Attorney David Paris said he found records of other people applying for or receiving driver's licenses at least 20 times using Davis' Social Security number, though some of the applications may have been rejected because data in them didn't match what the Social Security Administration had on file.

    Davis acknowledged in an interview with The Associated Press that his stunt has led to at least 87 instances in which people have tried to steal his identity, and one succeeded: a guy in Texas who duped an online payday loan operation last year into giving him $500 using Davis' Social Security number.

    Paris said the fact Davis' records were compromised at all supports the claim that Tempe, Arizona-based LifeLock doesn't provide the comprehensive protection its advertisements say it does.

    "It's further evidence of the ineffectiveness of the services that LifeLock advertises," said Paris, who is lead attorney on the three new lawsuits, the latest of which was filed this month.

    Davis learned about the fraud in Texas when the payday-loan outfit called to collect on the loan, he said. He didn't get an alert beforehand because the company didn't go through one of the three major credit bureaus before approving the transaction.

    Davis said it's possible driver's licenses have been issued to other people in his name because of the widespread availability of his personal information -- and because of what he described as the flimsy mechanisms in place to report that kind of fraud.

    Paris noted that LifeLock charges $10 a month to set fraud alerts with credit bureaus, even though consumers can do it themselves for free.

    But Davis stands by his company and his advertising gimmick, which has appeared in newspapers and on billboards, radio and MTV. He even broadcasts it by bullhorn on walking tours through crowded downtowns.

    "There's nothing on my actual credit report about uncollected funds, no outstanding tickets or warrants or anything," he said. "There's nothing to indicate my identity has been successfully compromised other than the one instance. I know I'm taking a slightly higher risk. But I'll take my risk for the tremendous benefit we're bringing to society and to consumers."

    The lawsuits, for which Paris is seeking class-action status, highlight the fundamental limits on how much security identity-theft companies can provide.

    Companies like LifeLock can help guard against only certain types of financial fraud by helping consumers set up alerts with credit bureaus, which inform them when someone tries to open a new line of credit or boost their credit limit to finance a buying binge, for example.

    The services don't guard against many types of identity theft such as use of a stolen Social Security number on a job application or for medical services, or even the instance of an arrestee giving police a stolen Social Security number to shield his own identity.

    LifeLock is also being sued in Arizona over its $1 million service guarantee, which the plaintiffs claim is misleading because it only covers a defect in LifeLock's service, and in California by the Experian credit bureau. Experian accuses LifeLock of deceiving consumers about the breadth of its protection and abusing the system for attaching fraud alerts to credit reports.

    Security experts say complaints about the company reinforce the time-honored wisdom of keeping your Social Security number secret.

    "There's been a lot of marketing, a lot of hype about LifeLock," said Paul Stephens, director of policy and advocacy with the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, a nonprofit consumer advocacy organization. "The question is, 'How much protection does it really buy you?"'

    "There is no company that can guarantee they can protect you (completely) against identity theft," Stephens said. "Absolutely nobody can do that."
    "Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch; Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote."
    -- Benjamin Franklin


  2. #2
    VIP Member Array Kerbouchard's Avatar
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    That's classic. I always wondered if it was his real SSN. I guess it was.
    There are two sides to every issue: one side is right and the other is wrong, but the middle is always evil.

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  3. #3
    Distinguished Member Array Reborn's Avatar
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    You know.......I have always found if you ask for something stupid like I.D. theft, a black eye, ,,, or shot somebody will be glad to help you out.
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  4. #4
    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    The pitch man's pitch is getting pitched into the ditch, which isn't surprising.

    What do we call the product, now ... deathlock? Falselock? No Lock? I've got it! SieveLock. That has a ring to it.

    Funny how the best, most-reliable products often seem to be the ones you don't see advertised often. Word of mouth means a lot. So does time in the saddle. It's why I don't by v1.0 software. It's why I let the dust settle on newly-introduced pistols before ever considering their possible use to save my life.

    Moral of the story: not every transaction is done within the "system," and not every criminal is a toad who would ignore such a boast and challenge.
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  5. #5
    VIP Member Array packinnova's Avatar
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    Yeah I saw those ads. Ehh... a maroon!
    "My God David, We're a Civilized society."

    "Sure, As long as the machines are workin' and you can call 911. But you take those things away, you throw people in the dark, and you scare the crap out of them; no more rules...You'll see how primitive they can get."
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  6. #6
    VIP Member Array ExactlyMyPoint's Avatar
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    Uh, er, ummmm, I signed up for Lifelock. I recently tried to open up a credit card account and was unceremoniously rejected. The system appears to work.

    Ya, I could put the fraud alerts on myself, but what if I forget? I am busy enough that I do not want to keep track of all that stuff. Plus, theoretically, if someone does steal my identity, they have liability insurance to clean the mess up which I hear can run into the thousands of dollars and many, many, many hours of your time. Hopefully I will never have to find out if they follow through on it.

    All in all, I would recommend it. It seems like cheap insurance.
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  7. #7
    VIP Member Array JonInNY's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by exactlymypoint View Post
    Uh, er, ummmm, I signed up for Lifelock. I recently tried to open up a credit card account and was unceremoniously rejected. The system appears to work.
    As long as the company stays in business. Seems like with this bad publicity, they may have some troubles. I wish you luck!
    "Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch; Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote."
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  8. #8
    VIP Member Array tns0038's Avatar
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    That’s almost funny.

    There is no such thing as a lock someone can not break into.

  9. #9
    Member Array Tye_Defender's Avatar
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    They didn't successfully steal his identity, they simply managed to dupe someone else into believing they were someone other than who they really were.

    My problem with identity theft isn't that some check-into-cash/payday loan place might be out $500 when someone claims to be me. It's when I'm out $500 or more (lots more) because they claim to be me. It sounds like Lifelock (and others, I'm not trying to push Lifelock) protects the customer (in this case the pitchman) from financial loss and other inconveniences because someone tries to steal your identity. According to the story, that appears to work.

    The thing about identity theft that I don't care about (maybe I'm just naive) is people/companies using SSN as a unique identifier and doing stupid things (like loaning money, giving credit cards, etc.) just because you happen to know the number. Any first grader could put a string of 9 numbers together and call that a social security number. Just because I happen to know how to count to 9 and can do it repeatedly doesn't mean that I am who I say I am.

    I am very bothered that someone can take the name of a guy and the 9 numbers assigned to him and then go get a drivers license, but that has nothing to do with identity protection companies, like lifelock. Lifelock's job is to protect my money.

  10. #10
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    I was waiting for this to happen.
    "Just blame Sixto"

  11. #11
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    Plaintiffs bar...bah humbug.....a bunch of CROOKS!

    Say, would you like to know what I really think?

  12. #12
    Senior Member Array walvord's Avatar
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    You can't fix stupid. Guess he'll have to sue himself.
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  13. #13
    VIP Member Array JonInNY's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by walvord View Post
    Guess he'll have to sue himself.
    That's very clever. I wonder if he can collect the $1,000,000 insurance policy his company guarentees?

    Hmmm, that gives me an idea...
    "Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch; Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote."
    -- Benjamin Franklin

  14. #14
    Distinguished Member Array kazzaerexys's Avatar
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    Since he isn't out any money, I am pretty sure the company's guarantee is irrelevant.

    To be honest, this is a minor PR black eye, and it does highlight one of the flaws in the system, namely that it only covers the three major credit agencies. But I signed up and I don't plan on canceling because of this. What I like is that their web site tells you exactly how to do everything that their service provides all by yourself, for free, if you are inclined to take the time and energy to do so. For me, it's worth $10 a month to let somebody else do it.
    Last edited by kazzaerexys; May 22nd, 2008 at 07:12 PM. Reason: Typo.
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    It is also proactive in practice and operation, whereas most other competitors are reactive in operation.

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