It seems that every other day another company issues a press release stating that they have lost the financial or health records of thousands or tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands, even millions of Americans. In many cases, these records contain all of the information a thief would need to completely assume someone’s identity. After all, it was all of the information they needed to confirm the consumer’s identity in the first place.
The crime of Identity Theft has now been dealt a serious blow by the Arizona-based company LIFELOCK (www.lifelock.com), which has perfected the world’s only ID Theft prevention system. Using a combination of tactics that include everything from setting and maintaining alerts forcing banks to contact people directly before issuing credit to removing them from pre-approved credit card lists, LIFELOCK proclaims that its system is so effective that they back it with a $1 million guarantee.
“Although it’s never happened, if one of our clients has his or her identity stolen while they’ve got our service, we’ll solve the problem and reimburse them for any money they lose. Period,” says LIFELOCK CEO Todd Davis. “We take the worry out of this crime completely.”
Before LIFELOCK, everyone worried about ID Theft were offered the same advice: Get a copy of your credit reports from each of the three credit bureaus once a year. Check your banking and credit card statements for unusual transactions. File a police report. Shred your mail. But credit industry leaders admit that these efforts are too little, too late.
“That doesn’t protect consumers. It’s not going to help and the public is starting to learn that,” says Thomas Chapman, CEO of Equifax, one of the “big three” credit reporting agencies in the US.
Due to ever stronger consumer protection laws, Americans are financially protected from most losses when it comes to damage to credit reports and credit cards caused by a thief. It’s the other ways a thief can use someone else’s identity that can cause serious damage to a victim’s life.
Take, for instance, the reporter whose twenty-year old checkbook wound up in the wrong hands. “The thief was bouncing checks all over the place. The problem was, he was using my name and check fraud is a felony.”
Or the Phoenix man whose identity was stolen by a man who went on to commit rape and murders using his name; “Even though he’s sitting in prison, I sometimes feel like I’m the one serving the life sentence,” says the victim.
Or the single mom in Houston whose seven year battle with a bank spurred new legislation in Congress. “Although the new law is good, I’m still dealing with the consequences,” she said.
“The fact of the matter is simple,” adds Davis. “Our identities are so much more than our credit reports. Until now, there really was no way for anyone to keep their identity safe in the first place. That’s why we started LIFELOCK.”
The company says that its system “locks” a consumer’s identity in such a way that it cannot be used by anyone except its rightful owner. Industry experts seem to agree.
“I’ve reviewed the LIFELOCK system and security. It works,” says Inder Singh, the retired Global Chief Technology Officer for VISA “To date everything I’ve seen has been reactive. It’s good to see that a company out there has developed a system that gives control of one’s identity to the individual.”
LIFELOCK’s services cost $10 per month or $100 a year for anyone who takes the service annually. The company is also interested in providing the service to other companies for employees as part of their benefit packages.
LIFELOCK’s “Identify Theft” product features include:
A LIFELOCK guarantee — If an identity is ever stolen while a
LIFELOCK program membership is in effect, LIFELOCK will fix all
issues arising from the theft and will reimburse any out of pocket
expenses lost up to $1 million dollars.
LIFELOCK will implement security alerts on all credit cards
preventing anyone except you from making any transactions/purchases
without express verbal approval.
LIFELOCK will remove a members name and other information from credit
card offers and most junk mail lists.
LIFELOCK specially trained Credit Approval Specialists are available
to assist if your credit is not authorized due to a security alert.
LIFELOCK will provide complete resolution to any issue resulting from
a theft while coverage is in effect including providing a dedicated
LIFELOCK account manager.