If you’ve listened to the radio, watched TV, or picked up a magazine recently, you’ve probably seen an advertisement for LifeLock, the identity theft protection. LifeLock, a company based in Tempe, Arizona, claims they have created a system that effectively stops an identity thief from using someone’s name and information to get what they want. For $10 a month, or $110 a year, LifeLock will register and monitor a fraud alert on your name with the three top credit reporting bureaus, Experian, Equifax, and Trans Union. When a fraud alert is in place, potential lenders are forced to call you at the number listed on the alert before they can issue you a loan or line of credit.
Anyone can call one of the credit bureaus and ask for a fraud alert free of charge, but it expires after three months. LifeLock automatically renews fraud alerts for their customers. The company will also make calls to request that your name be removed from mailing lists to help you cut down on unsolicited offers. What if your wallet is stolen? LifeLock’s WalletLock program will help you cancel and replace your cards. The company stands behind their services with a $1 million guarantee. If their system fails, and your identity is stolen, they will spend up to $1 million recovering your losses and investigating your case.
While LifeLock customers have been generally happy with the company, it has received some bad press lately. First, co-founder Robert J. Maynard, Jr. was accused of lying about an identity theft incident that he claimed was the reason he started the company. After he was called on a few other inconsistencies in his personal finances, he chose to resign from the company in 2007. Then, in an ironic twist of fate, CEO Todd Davis became a victim of identity theft himself. Someone used his widely publicized social security number to open a check-cashing loan for $500.
Despite these marks against their reputation, LifeLock is still accredited by the Better Business Bureau and recently received a five-star rating by TopConsumerReviews.com. It appears that, overall, LifeLock membership really is an effective way to keep identity thieves at bay.