LifeLock CEO said to be victim of identity theft 13 times

Publicly posting SSN resulted in Todd Davis' identity being misused

A CEO who publicly posted his Social Security number on billboards and in TV commercials as part of a campaign to promote his company's credit monitoring services was the victim of identity theft at least 13 times, a news report says.

LifeLock
LifeLock CEO Todd Davis appears in a TV ad for his company.

The Phoenix New Times reported that Todd Davis, CEO of LifeLock Inc. in Tempe, Ariz., was victimized numerous times by identity thieves who apparently used his Social Security number to commit various types of fraud.

Davis previously admitted that he was the victim of identity theft once in 2007, when a man in Texas used his Social Security number to take out a $500 loan that ended up being handled by a collection agency.

The New Times reported that Davis has been a victim of identity theft at least a dozen more times.

Among the examples cited in the report was one involving a thief in Albany, Ga., who opened an AT&T wireless account in Davis' name and used it to rack up more than $2,300 in charges.

In another instance, an individual used Davis' identity to open an account with Centerpoint Energy, a Texas utility, and left behind $122 in unpaid bills, the report said.

It also cited examples in which individuals who had stolen Davis' identity owed more than $573 to a bank and $312 to a gift basket company.

The numerous incidents belie LifeLock's claims that the services it offers protects consumers against identity theft and fraud, the report noted.

Davis said via e-mail that there had been "hundreds" of attempts to use his personal information in a fraudulent manner since 2005. All but 13 of those attempts were unsuccessful, Davis said.

"In each of these cases, our member services team performed the same service that it would for any LifeLock member," Davis said, adding that he had never lost of money as a result of the identity theft.

"I was saved many of hours of invaluable time, and my credit report has been corrected," Davis said.

He said that some of the successful attempts were "not true identity thefts" but rather involved "false entries on my credit file to people with similar names but different addresses -- clearly not me."

The other instances demonstrate precisely why LifeLock has recently launched an alert service that looks at credit bureau fraud alerts and other information to determine whether an individual's identity information is being improperly used, Davis said.

"Indeed, in just the last eight months we have provided more than 310,000 alerts to our members" using LifeLock's new Identity Alert service, he said.

The New Times story comes just two months after the Federal Trade Commission came down hard on LifeLock, fining the company $12 million for deceptive advertising.

LifeLock offers consumers a range of monitoring and alerting services that it claims helps protect them against theft and fraud.

For $10 per month LifeLock offers to remove the names of customers from junk-mail lists, monitor the Web for fraudulent use of a consumer's name, Social Security number and other personal information, and alert them to potential breaches of their personal data, among other services.

The company guarantees protection against identity theft and even says it is willing to spend up to $1 million to help subscribers who become victims of identity theft while signed up for the LifeLock service. Such claims have helped the company acquire close to 1 million customers since launching in 2005.

In announcing the fine against LifeLock in March, the FTC had noted that while the company's subscription service provided some benefits, the promised protection was beyond the company's ability to deliver.

Jaikumar Vijayan covers data security and privacy issues, financial services security and e-voting for Computerworld. Follow Jaikumar on Twitter at @jaivijayan or subscribe to Jaikumar's RSS feed . His e-mail address is jvijayan@computerworld.com.

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