A company promises identity theft protection

June 8, 2008 3:40:17 PM PDT
Troublshooter checks out a company's claim that it provides a service that will prevent your identity from being stolen.

The promise is big. Lifelock's CEO puts his social security number up for everyone to see and urges people to try and steal it.

"If anything happens for any reason while a client of Lifelock, we will cover your losses up to 1 million," the CEO says in a promotional video.

Lifelock is facing a number of lawsuits alleging fraudulent business and deceptive practices.

Raleigh Attorney Elizabeth Johnson says most people don't realize they don't have to pay for some of the services because they can do it on their own.

The first big step is keep your social security number private. It's better to be skeptical than impulsive.

"You have every right to ask them why it is they need that number, and if it doesn't sound like a legitimate answer, than don't give them your number," Johnson says.

Also, go online, check your credit report often, look for any inquiries or suspicious activity. Through the credit bureaus, you can sign up for fraud alerts.

"If you see a creditor you don't recognize, and they're in a location you've never been to, you might want think about whether someone in another part of the country is using your identity," Johnson says.

And if you get pre-approved credit offers, shred them or consider opting out of them altogether.

"It's a blank application partially filled in with your information," Johnson cautions. "It's very easy for an identity theft to pull that out of your mailbox, put their own address, send that in, open a line of credit, and you're never the wiser."

And for extra protection, you can put a freeze on your credit so no one, not even you, can get credit without taking off the freeze.

A representative for Lifelock responded by saying the lawsuits don't claim their services don't work, just that they might not work as promised.

The representative went on to say the lawsuits represent only a handful of people who never complained, canceled or asked for a refund.

As for the claim of being able to do Lifelock's services yourself, the representative admits many of services offered, consumers can do on their own. However, they do offer members things they can't do themselves and offer added convenience.


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