- Personal Finance»
- Managing Credit Cards & Payment Options
Is LifeLock a Scam?
LifeLock, led by CEO Todd Davis who readily advertises his Social Security Number, has become a well known identity theft protection company in a short amount of time. This is due to their effective marketing campaign and to some bad publicity that has a lot of people asking - Is LifeLock.com a scam?
Before I answer that question some background information is needed for those who are unaware of the bad publicity I am talking about. Please note this is not a review of Lifelock. Those interested in Lifelock reviews should visit IdentitytheftLabs.com to find out what they do and to compare LifeLock to the competition. This article is about the controversy that has led some to wonder if LifeLock is a scam.
One of LifeLock's founders was Robert Maynard who has a questionable past. The controversy started when Ray Stern of the Phoenix Times released his well researched and lengthy article "What Happened in Vegas..." which essentially exposed Maynards dealings on three issues.
- Maynard was arrested in Las Vegas for an unpaid marker and claims he was a victim of identity theft. According to Bernie Zadrowski, the Deputy District Attorney who was handling the case, Maynard was the person who took out the marker and not once did he say he was a victim of identity theft. Maynard ending up paying the marker and claims he did so because it wasn't that much money and it was easier than dealing with the other issues at hand. Maynard was never charged with any wrong doing.
- Maynard may have used his fathers identity to get a credit card for himself. When Maynard's father was sued by American Express over an unpaid balance his position was that the card belongs to his son. His lawyer stated that Maynard Sr. "never authorized any charges". Robert Maynard has said it was a credit card they took out together for business and that his fathers position in court was an attempt to renege on his portion of the debt. He further stated in an interview with scambusters.org that his fathers lawyer stated: "he didn't authorize the charges," not, "he didn't authorize the account." Lawyers are very precise in their use of words.
- Robert Maynard has been banned from the credit repair business. Maynard has never denied this and states he made a poor decision about a business partner who was fined 27 Million dollars. Maynard stated in an email to scambusters.org that "I was deposed by the FTC for one two-hour session and I was offered a settlement finding no fault and asking for no fines, fees or costs (which is highly unusual)".
More information can be found at Scambusters.org but essentially they concluded that they would continue to use LifeLocks services as they had found no fault with their service which, of course, indicates that they believe LifeLock is not a scam.
They did state they would continue to investigate Maynards stories. A lot of the controversy was put to rest later when Maynard resigned from LifeLock. It seems that Lifelock was taking to much of a PR hit. It is unclear whether Scambusters.org will continue to investigate since Maynard's resignation.
So is LifeLock a scam. Absolutely not. They just had a founder with a very questionable past. LifeLock has been backed by well known venture capitalists Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Bessemer Venture Partners and Biltmore Ventures since April when Maynard was still with the company. They have also received funding recently from the prestigious firm Goldman Sachs Group Inc.
These rounds of funding and the 400,000 customers they acquired in 2007, now over 1,000,000 at the end of 2008, have left Lifelock financially secure and a very legitimate business that is anything but a scam. In fact, Lifelock is one of the fastest growing companies in the world as more and more people look for identity protection from the devastating crime of identity theft.
The question you have to ask yourself is - Does Robert Maynards past association with LifeLock make me want to choose another identity theft protection company. That choice is yours.
Since I first wrote this Hub asking whether LifeLock.com was a scam a few other negative issues have come up with LifeLock. First of all they were sued by Experian, a credit bureau who has seen revenues drop with LifeLocks success, for essentially operating a business that is illegal and false advertising.
LifeLocks commercials may have been a bit misleading but show me a commercial that isn't. Still, Experian claims that the spirit in which the FACT Act was passed meant that only consumers could place fraud alerts not companies. What is most interesting about this suit is that no other identity protection company was sued even though they do the exact same thing. The difference with LifeLock is that they do not have an agreement with any of the credit bureaus at least not on the date of the lawsuit.
Personally, I think Experian is trying to protect their shareholders since LifeLock has really cut in to their revenues. Since when does a company that makes the large majority of its revenue from selling our private information have our best interests at heart. Obviously they don't.
If you are concerned by any of these issues you will be glad to know there are other options besides LifeLock. I, however, see no problem at all in using them as your identity protection service. So fear not and choose whoever you think is best. You can compare Lifelock to the competition - Debix, Identity Guard and TrustedID to help you with your decision.