Is LifeLock Identity Theft Protection Really a Rip-Off?

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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.” Continue reading

LifeLock Sucks?

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Lifelock CEO Todd DavisI did a post yesterday on WalletPop about LifeLock. They basically advertise services to protect you from identity thieves.

When the service first was unveiled, I was intrigued. So much so, that I signed up to be an affiliate. (I never actually marketed the services as an affiliate, sold any products, or received any compensation, though.)

The concern of identity theft is very real, as many people have their data compromised each year. I even had my personal details compromised in 2006, thanks to the carelessness of the AICPA (the national professional organization for CPAs). So LifeLock initially seems to make sense… Continue reading

Man who got rich from spamming arrested

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Robert Alan Soloway, described by many as one of the world’s biggest spammers, was arrested yesterday in Seattle for Internet crimes. He is accused of using “zombie” computers to send millions of spam emails to individuals and businesses.

Last week a federal grand jury handed down an indictment against Soloway, listing 35 counts that included: mail fraud, wire fraud, e-mail fraud, aggravated identity theft and money laundering. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

“Zombie” computers are computers that are taken over with computer code, and the owners typically never know their machine is under the control of someone else. These controlled machines are then used to send massive, bulk spam emails. In Soloway’s case, he used the compromised computers to send bulk e-mails that invited people to use his Internet marketing company to advertise their products via email advertisements. Soloway’s company adversited the aility to send up to 20 million emails over 15 days, at a cost of $495.

It is said that Soloway got rich from this spamming… driving a high-end Mercedes and living in an expensive apartment. Microsoft won a $7 million civil judgment against Soloway in 2005 and an ISP in Oklahoma has alswo won a $10 million judgment against him.

U.S. Attorney Jeff Sullivan said this case is the first in the country to use identity theft statutes to prosecute a spammer who takes over someone else’s domain name. The investigation began after numerous complaints about Soloway, who was featured on a list of known spammers kept by The Spamhaus Project.

Have You Heard of “Synthetic Identity Fraud”?

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Bankrate.com has an excellent article about this little-known type of fraud called synthetic identity fraud. This is really interesting. In true identity fraud, an individual’s personal information is used without her or his knowledge or consent to open new credit account. In synthetic identity fraud, the credit lines opened are not necessarily tied to one person, as the thief uses a smattering of information from different people to commit the fraud. Continue reading