Lifelock has burst on the scene over the last year with a bold promotion strategy which purports to safeguard ones identity and vital credit information in -what it calls- "proactive protction", thereby implying prevention rather than mere damage control and recovery after the fact.
The company has used two main sales pitches to underpin its marketing strategy. The first is that Life Lock CEO Todd Davis openly flaunts and displays his social security card in ads and reveals his SS Number to the public. The notion, of course, is that Lifelock is so effective that his own credit information cannot be compromised.
The second promotional pitch is that the company offers a 1 million dollar guarantee of its service. Combined, these two marketing ideas have helped LifeLock grow at an appreciable rate, recently signing up its 1 millionth customer in May, 2008.
But what exactly does LifeLock do? Furthermore, are these things that one can do for ones self? This has been the main complaint against the company. In its defense, Life Lock has updated information on its website (Click Here to go directly to Lifelock) plainly pointing out which of its services are available to the public through other channels, many of them for free. Lifelock argues that maintaining a professinal company to properly organize, examine and keep up the steps necessary to achieve what its brand of identity theft prevention provides is worth its fees.
In terms of undoing damage caused by credit fraud, we have a number of articles relevant to the topic. See our introduction on Fixing your own Credit Problems. You may also find our article on Identity Theft useful, for information on preventing this.
Lifelock's main activity on behalf of a consumer is to place periodic fraud alerts with the three main credit reporting bureaus (Experian, Equifax and Transunion). The alerts last for 90 days and Lifelock will renew these at expiration. The company then attempts to remove custromers' names from preapproved credit and junk mail lists. Additionally, two credit proprietary monitoring systems (named respectively eRecon and TrueAddress) are used as lookouts for illegal activity involving a customer's personal information such as their social security number, drivers license, address, credit cards and so on.
The Experian Controversy
The Credit Bureau Experian has sued LifeLock over what it sees as bogus 90-day fraud alerts on hundreds of thousands of credit files that Experian maintains. There's more on Experian's lawsuit here. In it's defense, LifeLock CEO Todd Davis insists that the company's activities are legal and permitted under the Fair and Accurate Credit Transgression Act. Davis raises the notion that Experian's real objection is that it is unable to sell customer information it has onfile without permission form the customer when that file is placed under a fraud alert.