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Many of us have seen the ‘LifeLock’ commercials where this guy, Todd Davis dares someone to try to steal his identity.
What he claims is his social security number flashes on the screen, even having a truck drive around displaying his number during the commercial.
Well it turns out that several attempts (87) to steal his identity have occurred with one succeeding.
To make matters worse, Todd Davis is now being sued by several people in Maryland, New Jersey and West Virginia, claiming his service didn’t work as promised basically accusing him of fraud, because the service didn’t even work for him… [Click here to read the article]
An Update About Identity Theft from the Author
I want to be perfectly clear when I say to you that I am not making light of this situation. Identity Theft is a Despicable Crime, effecting thousands of unsuspecting hard working people (like you and I) everyday.
Identity Theft A Growing Problem
According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) it’s estimated that more than 9 million Americans, have been affected by identity theft. If you take that and expand it to include the rest of the world, you can easily understand how it is quickly becoming a problem that no one can ignore anymore.
What Exactly is Identity Theft
Identity theft has many forms, I would define it as:
“The act of someone taking or stealing your personal information, such as Your Name, Social Security Number or Credit Card Information, without your permission; then using that stolen information, to either commit fraud or some other crime.”
Ways Your Identity is Stolen (Source: FTC)
Identity thieves, will use a number of ways to get their hands on your information. A few of the most common ways are listed below:
- Dumpster Diving: They look through your trash to find for bills or other paper with your personal information on it.
- Skimming: They steal credit/debit card numbers by using a special device that allows them to capture your credit card number, when your card is being processed during a sales transaction.
- Phishing: They pretend to be a financial institution or companies and send spam or pop-up messages to get you to reveal your personal information. While this is a common practice online, they will sometimes attempt to obtain this your personal information over the phone.
- Changing Your Address: They divert your billing statements to another location by completing a change of address form.
What Can We Do to Protect Ourselves?
The best thing is just to make sure you use “plain old common sense”. You have to take extra care to protect yourself. One way is to buy a paper shredder and shred any piece of paper, like a bill or credit card advertisement, before you throw it away.
Another way is to be especially careful when you are using your personal computer. Never click on email from anybody you don’t know. Also, please use virus software and keep your virus files up to date.
Diligently inspect your credit report. Your credit report has information about you, including what accounts you have opened and your bill paying history. If you see something on your credit report that looks odd, don’t ignore it… Take Action!
Be Proactive Take Action with LifeLock
LifeLock focuses on being proactive and preventing identity theft before it occurs. LifeLock provides fraud protection to each of its clients by:
- Keeping track of various databases to ensure that your personal data is not being sold on the black market.
- Another service that they provide is credit card monitoring. With the credit alert service, you will be notified right away, allowing you to take action to prevent the an theft of your credit information.
- They also provide Identity Theft Assistance, Providing you with an action plan informing you about the steps necessary, to initiate action to prevent further credit and identity theft damage of your personal information.
Sound Off, We’d Like to Hear from You
What are your thoughts on LifeLock? Are you a subscriber of their services? Are you using another tool? Has theft identity protection been beneficial for you? Please feel free to share your experiences with us.
Note: Security experts say complaints about the company reinforce the time-honored wisdom of keeping your Social Security number secret.
“There’s been a lot of marketing, a lot of hype about LifeLock,” said Paul Stephens, director of policy and advocacy with the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, a nonprofit consumer advocacy organization. “The question is, ‘How much protection does it really buy you?'”
“There is no company that can guarantee they can protect you (completely) against identity theft,” Stephens said. “Absolutely nobody can do that.”