If you look at recent events, LifeLock doesn’t appear to be the culprit. Rather the identity theft prevention company is beginning to look much more like David up against Goliath. Let’s look at the entire picture.
LifeLock, the leading identity theft prevention/restoration company in the country is once again rising to the challenge to clear their name from another lawsuit filed by someone claiming to protect innocent consumers.
A class action lawsuit filed in the US District Court in Arizona on Thursday claims that LifeLock misleads its subscribers because their $1 million dollar guarantee to stand behind their promise to restore stolen identities is “riddled with restrictions, waivers and limitations”. The complaint also argues that under its terms and conditions, LifeLock's service is actually an insurance product and should be regulated by state insurance departments.
Is LifeLock an insurance product? LifeLock CEO Todd Davis says they’re not. "We have over 20 letters from state insurance commissioners that agree with our position that we're a service with a warranty."
The Arizona Department of Insurance, the state where the suit was filed, has also reviewed LifeLock's service and does not believe it is an insurance product, said department spokeswoman Erin Klug. In fact, no state has ever deemed LifeLock to be an insurance product.
The plaintiff in this second recently filed lawsuit is seeking unspecified damages for all LifeLock customers and is asking the company return all money it collected from customers, whether or not they want their money back.
News of this lawsuit comes directly behind Experian’s lawsuit filed last month. Their lawsuit too claims that LifeLock is misleading us and in part, claims to be a valiant effort to protect us as well.
Experian says LifeLock is misleading? Try finding that “free credit report” you’re entitled to without landing on an Experian site selling credit monitoring services. Here it is! No, over here!! Oops, we mean hear! Yes, Experian is dreaming of a number alright – it’s their bottom line! There are no shortages of lawsuits filed against Experian but they don’t end up in the news. Experian cares about the consumer as much as Saudi Arabia cares about cheap gas.
With news of this latest lawsuit, Experian and some of LifeLock’s competitors must be salivating, grinning from ear to ear and contemplating how to best spin the news of these lawsuits into profits -with little thought given to the real problem ID THEFT! If you listen closely, you may actually hear the celebration. It won’t take long before countless creative headlines begin sweeping the web offering consumers deals if they jump LifeLock’s ship and swim quickly to their open arms.
Why do I sound annoyed, sarcastic and skeptical of the true intent of these recent lawsuits?
Because not only do they appear to be self-serving and disingenuous, they are also only serving to further exacerbate the real problem!
LifeLock contends that not only did the plaintiff in this most recent suit not ask for a refund -he apparently never once reported he had any concern, or damages for that matter! In fact, Todd Davis, CEO of LifeLock says he wasn’t even aware of the lawsuit until he was contacted by news reporters.
All of this makes me remember a billboard I once saw on a church that read; Hey, That "Love Thy Neighbor" thing... I meant it - God. In the spirit of that gracious saying, I urge you to look at the entire picture and facts;
In 2005, there were 158 breaches reported involving about 65 million records according to statistics compiled by the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC), a consumer rights advocacy group.
In 2006, nearly 20 million records were exposed.
In 2007 some 127 million data records were exposed.
As of today, just this month alone, attrition.org reports 18 data breaches that placed about 7,000,000 million identities at risk. Odds are pretty good that when the statistics for 2008 are compiled figures will indicate another sharp rise in the number of records put at risk of fraud.
Letting someone else's behavior determine the truth can be harmful in itself. What services we find of value should be determined by us-and not others. These cases have yet to be heard but when reading the press releases one would think these cases have already been decided and ruled on.
The real problem here is protecting us from criminals and keeping our identities safe. Whatever service or product that can best do so is the one I want to utilize. I don’t need protection from big bad LifeLock who appears to be out there actually making a difference for those of us who don't want to worry about our identities being ripped away. I need protection from the identity thieves LifeLock appears to be stopping.
I can’t help but ask the obvious…who’s really concerned about consumers and who isn’t? What has Experian, or anyone involved in these two lawsuits brought to the table that can become part of the solution and not part of the problem. And what damages have they shown? None that I can see.
Whether it’s a medical, employment, financial or reputation identity theft caused by a data breach, dumpster diver or a thief who breaks into my home, car, or office and steals my laptop, credit card numbers, wallet, I find peace of mind and value in having a service such as LifeLock whose job is to “fix” the problem –That’s what I need protection from -not LifeLock.