The shady past of LifeLock, Rush Limbaugh's sole remaining tech advertiser

LifeLock, the sole remaining tech advertiser on Rush Limbaugh's radio show, has a very shady past, including being fined $12 million by the Federal Trade Commission for deceptive business practices.

Three tech companies -- AOL, Carbonite, and GoToMeeting -- pulled their advertising from Rush Limbaugh's right-wing radio show after Limbaugh called a female law student a "slut" and "prostitute". But the identity theft company LifeLock steadfastly remains an advertiser.

LifeLock and Limbaugh make a very suitable couple, because LifeLock has a very shady past, particularly disturbing for a company that promises to protect your identity for a fee.

In 2010 LifeLock was fined $12 million by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for deceptive business practices. LifeLock promises to protect people against identity theft, and claimed that it would give customers $1 million for their losses if they became victims of identity theft after using the service.

In 2010, Wired reported, the FTC found that LifeLock's:

claims were bogus and accused Lifelock, based in Arizona, of operating a scam and con operation. The commission announced, along with 35 state attorneys general, that it had levied a fine of $12 million against the company for deceptive business practices and for failing to secure sensitive customer data.

According to IDG News, LifeLock's claims that it would "prevent unauthorized changes to customers' address information, that it constantly monitored activity on customer credit reports, and that it would ensure that a customer always would receive a telephone call from a potential creditor before a new account was opened," were flat-out false, according to the FTC.

That's just one incident in a long line of them. CEO Todd Davis publishes his social security number as a way to show his company can protect your identity even someone has your social security number. When someone stole his identity, Wired reports, LifeLock interfered with the police investigation. Wired says:

A man who stole the identity of LifeLock co-founder Todd Davis won't face criminal charges, police say, because LifeLock stepped in before the police could finish investigating the crime and coerced the suspect into making a videotaped confession that isn't admissible in court.

There's much more than that. LifeLock was sued for corporate identity theft by its competitor Namesafe, who claimed that LifeLock stole the company's trademark and also diverted online traffic from Namesafe to LifeLock.

Then there's the shady background of LifeLock founder Robert J. Maynard (who has since resigned), who according to an investigation by the Phoenix New Times had been jailed for unpaid $16,000 in casino markers to the Mirage casino in Las Vegas. The newspaper also reported that a previous firm he set up was sued by the state of Arizona for fraud and misreprentation.

Given all that, is it any surprise that LifeLock would stand behind Limbaugh? For me, it's no surprise at all.


Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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