Do You Feel Safer Because Todd Davis's Social Security Number is Posted Online?: Page 2


You Can't Detect What You Can't See: Illuminating the Entire Kill Chain

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Experts agree that LifeLock and other companies such as Debix, TrustedID and MyTruston can help guard against certain types of financial fraud by informing them when someone tries to open a new line of credit or boost their credit limit.

Beyond that, however, the very same experts say LifeLock and similar services don’t guard against many of the more complicated types of identity theft.

Paul Stephens, director of policy and advocacy with the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, a nonprofit consumer advocacy organization based in San Diego, advised that consumers should be skeptical of any company that promises 100 percent protection against fraud and identity theft.

“There is no company that can guarantee they can protect you (completely) against identity theft,” he told the A.P. earlier this year.

Even Davis admits that no fraud detection solution is flawless. On the company’s Web site, he is quoted as saying, “No one can stop all identity theft, and don’t believe anyone who says they can.”

Many experts added that LifeLock and its competitors all offer services consumers can accomplish on their own—for free. Congress passed laws several years ago allowing consumers to get free annual credit reports from Experian and other credit bureaus such as TransUnion and Equifax so people can see exactly what is happening with their credit at all times.

The government also allows consumers to place free fraud alerts on their credit reports if they have been victimized or believe they have been or are about to become a victim of identity theft.

“The issue really is with today’s culture of ‘time is money,’” said Ryan Barnett, director of application security at Breach Security, a web application security vendor in Carlsbad, Calif. “Most people don’t want to deal with these kinds of vigilant monitoring or clean-up efforts.”

Nealy, the LifeLock spokesperson, conceded that the essence of her company’s service is setting fraud alerts on behalf of its customers every three months, and monitoring the alerts for unusual activity.

She added that despite what lawsuits might allege, the company’s $1 million guarantee is a promise to customers that if the LifeLock service falters, its customers are covered for up to $1 million of loss.

Considering these words, is LifeLock guilty of false advertising? Do the lawsuits have merit?

According to LifeLock’s Davis, the answer to both questions is a resounding no. The man who publishes his Social Security Number for all to see scoffs at the pending litigation, and notes on the company Web site that he has asked courts to have the cases thrown out.

“We believe the suits will be proved to be without merit because we follow the law and do exactly what we say we do,” he wrote. “I don’t see where anyone has come even close to proving different or doing the job better.”

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Tags: security, PayPal, ID Theft, social security number, identity theft

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