28 Apr

Is LifeLock Identity Theft Protection Really a Rip-Off?

LifeLock Identity Theft Protection ServicesLifeLock sucks. When I first heard about LifeLock a few years ago, I was very intrigued by its service. I was especially interested in how it advertised the services: With the company’s CEO telling everyone his social security number.

The company “guarantees” that your identity will never be stolen, and it offers a “$1,000,000 Service Guarantee.”

Initially, LifeLock was set up as a glorified credit monitoring service. Company representatives also made the phone calls that would have your name removed from pre-approved credit card offers and junk mail lists, and had the credit bureaus each send you a credit report once a year. Since then, LifeLock has added more services, but these don’t appear to be very valuable:

  • WalletLock – Stolen or lost wallet remediation services that  will help cancel accounts and replace your cards.Telling you how high your exposure to identity theft is
  • Monitoring public records and court records
  • Showing you your monthly credit score from TransUnion
  • TrueAddress – Looking for changes to your address in databases
  • Tracking alternate names
  • eRecon – Searching “known criminal websites” for the selling of your name and personal information
  • Monitoring for payday loans
  • Surveillance of unregulated global networks and file sharing sites

But the big selling point for Lifelock is the service the company says they provide if your identity is ever stolen while you’re using LifeLock. The company says it will hire lawyers and investigators to help recover your good name.

Sounds good, right?

Here’s the main problem with this service: Most of what it offers can be accomplished on your own for free. All it takes is a few phone calls to credit agencies, and you’re done. Why would you pay a monthly fee of $10 for these things which you can do for free on your own?

LifeLock suggests that customers like the convenience of having someone else do the work for them, and I don’t dispute that $10 to $15 per month is a small price to pay for the convenience. However, do you really want another company digging into your personal information? Doesn’t the handling of your personal information by LifeLock add another risk?

But there’s a bigger issue, and the plaintiff’s lawyers have gotten a hold of this one. The $1,000,000 guarantee isn’t exactly what it sounds like. The company says it will pay to  repair your credit if your identity is stolen, yet the class action suit says that the actual service guarantee says LifeLock will only pay for expenses resulting from a defect in its service.

This is true, as the company’s website states:

LifeLock works to help protect you from identity theft before it happens by taking proactive steps to reduce your risk. If you become a victim of identity theft while you are a LifeLock member because of a failure in our service, contact us and we will act on your behalf to repair any damage. We will spend up to $1 million on lawyers, investigators, consultants and whatever else it takes to restore your good name and recover the direct losses of the identity theft.

No money will pass directly to our LifeLock members. For full details, please read the Terms & Conditions section of our website. (Restrictions apply. See LifeLock.com for details. Due to state law restrictions, the service guarantee is not offered, applicable, or available to residents of the State of New York.)

The class action lawsuit also said that the LifeLock CEO’s identity was being used by about 20 identity thieves. If this is true, I can only suspect that it’s more lucrative to advertise his social security number than protect his identity. It’s apparently made him a lot of money.

In 2010, LifeLock settled a lawsuit with 35 state attorneys general for $12 million. The company was accused of misleading consumers with its claims. Pursuant to this settlement, LifeLock allegedly made its claims regarding the $1 million guarantee more clear (see above), but it’s doubtful that the additional language in that statement did much to better educate consumers.

The bottom line? The attorneys say that the company is basically offering a worthless service with a worthless guarantee. And in large part, I agree.

15 thoughts on “Is LifeLock Identity Theft Protection Really a Rip-Off?

  1. Great article,I also heard the founder was a convicted felon.
    Anyways you can contact the credit bureaus yourself and have your credit locked down.
    You can also get your credit report free so you can monitor your own credit, however there is only one free credit report source authorized by the FTC.

  2. Ron A.

    I too am a convicted felon. I made a stupid mistake while I was in college and have paid the price severely. I live a straight and narrow life now working in corporate America. I’d really like to know what the founder’s criminal status has to do with anything in your comment?

  3. “In 2010, Lifelock settled a lawsuit with 35 state attorneys… for $12 million” I would love to see the audit trail of that money.

  4. was a member for 1yr and decided not to renew their services. We received numerous call, some considered Threatening in which all were told “We were not going to renew their services”. One month later received a credit card billing that they had made an Unauthorized” charge on our credit card. Lifelock are the guys that were were trying to protect ourselves from. They are the Wolves in Sheep’s clothing.

  5. LifeLock is a total scam. I purchased a membership, and was subsequently notified by a credit card processor that my identity had been stolen. When fraudulent charges began to appear on my credit card statement, I contacted LifeLock – their response = “to bad”. They did absolutely nothing to help resolve the situation. This service is worthless.

  6. If they had as many customer service reps as sells people this company would still be a rip off!!! Major scam!!

  7. I have had Lifelock for 2 years. I just got a new mortgage and Lifelock didn’t even know anything about it. What a worthless damn service!! Needless to say I cancelled!!

  8. Simply put it’s junk. My wife had someone try and steal her identity. Ironically, we were contacted by the creditor and we proceeded to lock her credit. Life Lock NEVER contacted us. I contacted them and canceled my subscription after four years.

  9. I’m glad my bank knows my spending habits I got a call about an unauthorized attempt for auto pay of $99 for some Cosmetic Company they got my credit card number when I had to pay for shipping so when I threaten to sue them they stopped but my bank stop them from taking any money out it’s nice to know the bank manager let them know your habits let them know you don’t spend foolishly and they will watch out for you at no cost

  10. I got lifelock and had my account gotten into three times but the bank caught it not lifelock I dropped them and had no more problems.l ask them why and they said they don’t cover that. And l never did get the free shredder like said on the TV add

  11. I am not sure about it either cause they get all your information and take what they want out of your account. B.B.B. IS BEST

  12. at first i was intrigued but suspicious of the company n became more suspicious when they aligned themselves with Norton. I have suspected norton is a hacker that makes yer system vulnerable and may even be used by hackers to access your system. Norton attaches itself to your computer and basically hijacks your system to nearly force a user to use the service or deal with constant interruptions in your daily computer usage. The very manner in which they install themselves and harangue users into paying for service is like a mafia hanging outside your shop doing nothing but making sure they leave an impression on you to pay or suffer. ID protection is a big dollar scam. Everyones in on it including your banks. Its a crime thats making so much legal bucks nobody is gonna make it a social issue. ITs a legal crime against people. Your identity should be protected by banks at no expense to you. Banks and credit organizations are absolutely of no use if they have no legal legit customers and would have no purpose in our community so its in their best interest to protect the very thing that gives them a business purpose. IT crimes are prominent now because we have a huge sector of naive computer users that dont understand the techy stuff and are easily picked off. Norton uses this advantage and lifelock obviously is mostly focused on Ads and marketing and you can see the thousands of people who paid and received nothing in return but a marketing spiel. So if you are willing to pay to hear something comforting perhaps you should turn to a guru instead or a religion pusher. Remember that YOU are handing your personal information to people you dont know when you are dealing with Lifelock or Norton. You are giving them full access to your accounts. For this you should demand something solid and more than just a sales pitch. Hard core contract that makes the company absolutely responsible for any misuses of your credit. Sadly these companies could make real money and do a real service but it would require putting real effort into their task. Its simply easier to invest in marketing and sales staff than into real tech skills. Society as a whole must put the ID theft question on the table and demand public companies be held accountable or these scams will continue and before long all your info is just gonna be on a smorgasbord for crooks to pick n choose from. WHen a company uses fear mongering as their main marketing scheme then beware. At no point do they truly explain what methods they are using to monitor your credit that you couldnt do on your own. However to be totally honest right now nobody is safe because the main companies handling your financials are handing your data over to foreign companies that are NOT under US jurisdictions and can not guarantee your data isnt being used by the employees of these foreign companies. Outsourcing by banks and financial institutes has put everyone in the United States at risk. So the problem is the core protectors of your ID are allowing a slew of crooks to evolve that either claim to protect you or simply steal your info. I know all of you have a bank that offers account protection insurance. Its a scam but when the very people who offer you credit cant guarantee your protection you buy it cuz you want to be safe simple. They know this and its a no brainer..Billions of dollars are made because your paying what? 4 bucks a month? 11 perhaps? 300 million bankers? Do the math. Its a nation wide scam we need to address at the White House.

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