Money for Nothing

Don't fall victim to the identity-theft protection scam

The phone call from the collection agency back in May should've been expected.

The caller was looking for Todd Davis, the CEO of one of the nation's fastest-growing anti-identity-theft companies, Tempe-based LifeLock. When Davis picked up the phone, the collection agency told him he had failed to pay back a $500 loan he took out in Texas.

Davis, who lives in Chandler, probably knew at once he was a victim of identity theft.

Above and below, the drivers licenses that Nevada authorities produced to disprove the claims of identity theft made by the founder of LifeLock.
LifeLock CEO Todd Davis was recently the victim of identity theft after he published his Social Security number in company ads.
Martha Strachan
LifeLock CEO Todd Davis was recently the victim of identity theft after he published his Social Security number in company ads.
Jackie Mercandetti
Last month, LifeLock expanded its offices and moved into this building near Tempes Town Lake.
Identity thief Richard Hainsworth faces sentencing in Yavapai County after he bought a motorcycle using a Mesa mans good credit.
Martha Strachan
After an identity theft made Bob Hartles life a nightmare, he and his wife, JoAnn, helped get Arizonas first identity theft law enacted. They now help other victims in their spare time.
Martha Strachan
Identity-protection services wouldnt have helped retired postal work Mike Wysocki avoid becoming a victim.

But how could he be a victim? His company boasts it can protect people from identity theft, and Davis was, naturally, one of its first customers.

Yet there's no doubt it was identity theft, says Lieutenant Dean Sullivan of the Fort Worth Police Department. The suspect took out a loan under Davis' name using a check as collateral.

"How they came about his information, I don't know," Sullivan says.

There's an easy answer for that.

Davis gives out his Social Security number — 457-55-5462 — in the company's ads.

Davis states on LifeLock's Web site, "Just like we have with mine, LifeLock will make your personal information useless to a criminal."

But LifeLock couldn't really make it useless. Like other aspects of LifeLock's marketing campaign, Davis' statement just isn't true.

Despite LifeLock's service, the thief found Davis' information plenty useful. The check that the thief used to take out the loan was from his or her own bank, and police found the suspect's home address. So far, no arrest has been made.

The story won't make a good testimonial for LifeLock. It's a perfect example of how the firm's primary service — placing fraud alerts on customers' credit reports — failed to stop identity theft from occurring.

Other companies offer that service, as well, even though it's free and extremely simple for people to do themselves. Dozens of firms offering anti-identity-theft services have built a multimillion-dollar industry in the past few years.

Consumer advocates say they're a rip-off.

Companies like LifeLock can try to prevent only one kind of identity theft, new-account fraud, and Davis' case proves they can't always do that, either.

Initial details of the case were first published June 11 by blogger Kim Zetter of Zetter said she received a tip from a reader about the crime after another blog post about LifeLock.

Zetter and other bloggers were writing a lot about LifeLock that week because of a May 31 New Times story, which detailed how the company's founder, Robert J. Maynard Jr., lied repeatedly to the public that he was a victim of identity theft, according to information provided by Nevada authorities.

Maynard claims — and he's sticking to the story, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary — that he was falsely arrested by Valley authorities in 2003 and held for a week in jail because of a Las Vegas gambling debt that he didn't owe. The experience gave him the idea to start LifeLock, he has told newspapers and TV news stations. He and Davis use the story as a horrific example of why people need their company's services.

But Clark County, Nevada, prosecutor Bernard Zadrowski told New Times the roughly $16,000 debt to the Mirage casino had, in fact, been Maynard's. Nevada treats unpaid casino markers like bad checks, and felony charges against Maynard Jr. were dropped after he paid the debt, Zadrowski said.

The New Times story also detailed how Maynard Jr. was one of the heads of a credit-repair company shut down by the government in the mid-1990s, leaving him permanently banned from the credit-repair business, and how his own father accuses him of identity theft. Dr. Robert Maynard Sr., a Valley optometrist, said his personal data was used by his son to order an American Express card in Maynard Sr.'s name and make about $150,000 in charges — all without Maynard Sr.'s consent.

Less than two weeks after the story ran, LifeLock announced that Robert J. Maynard Jr. had resigned from the company.

The Los Angeles Times wrote about his resignation in a June 12 article and mentioned the scam against Davis prominently, saying that even as the company was acting to distance itself from problems exposed about its founder, "new questions arose about its marketing claims." The Times also said the incident could affect Davis' credit rating.

Davis said he's still "upset" over the May 31 story, and he wouldn't agree to an interview for this article. But New Times sent him several questions, which he answered by e-mail with the help of the company's new public relations consultant, spin artist Jason Rose, known for taking on clients with image problems, including Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Pink Taco restaurant.

In one e-mail, Rose and Davis say the fact that Davis was victimized was not an embarrassment to the company; rather, it showed how well the company works. The e-mail explains that when the system fails, as it did in this case, LifeLock will spend time and, if necessary, up to $1 million to help its customers.

The company did help its CEO — by hiring another company to aid in solving Davis' problem.

But the same thing wouldn't happen to you, because LifeLock's terms of agreement state that you can't be a customer if you publish your Social Security number.

If anyone in this state knows what to do about identity theft, it's Bob Hartle.

Hartle lives with his wife, JoAnn, in the residence where he grew up in south Phoenix. The place is filled with the hides and heads of animals he and JoAnn hunted when they lived in Alaska. In 1994, the Hartles were living in Iowa when they found out that a thief had destroyed Bob Hartle's good name ("Bob Hartle's Identity Crisis," April 24, 1997).

The incident spurred Hartle to become an expert on the subject, and he became personally responsible for the state's first anti-identity-theft law, signed by Governor Fife Symington in 1996. Before then, no specific felony statute made it a crime to take someone's data and use it wrongfully.

Hartle's a retired Honeywell employee who now works as a security officer for a tech firm. He and JoAnn educate the public and help identity-theft victims in their spare time. Their Web site address is

At seminars, Hartle says not to spend money on anti-identity-theft services. He says they are a waste of time. That's also the message of Consumer Reports and other watchdogs that have analyzed the services.

The fact is, you can do most everything the services do for no cost.

If you become a victim — a possibility even if you buy the services — odds are the crime will cost you no money and take relatively little time to resolve.

To understand the criticism by Hartle and others, you first have to know what the identity-theft companies are selling: credit-report monitoring, fraud alerts, insurance, and help for victims.

Most of the companies offer several of the services at once.

All three major credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion — offer credit-report monitoring in a way that could almost be called a protection racket.

The credit bureaus make money by collecting financial data on people and then selling it. They are the keepers of your credit report and credit score. When you apply for a loan, they're the ones who tell credit card companies, mortgage firms, and car dealerships who you are and whether you're likely to make timely payments.

The credit bureaus charge the lenders for that information. Then they charge you as much as $14.95 a month to monitor your credit report, simply shooting you an e-mail if someone opens a credit account in your name.

In other words, you pay the bureaus to let you know when they help someone commit fraud in your name.

You can choose not to buy the bureaus' services, but you can't choose to ignore the bureaus if their info on you is misused — not if you ever want to buy something on credit again.

Even if you pony up the monthly fee, there's no protection from identity theft.

And if you get victimized, you still have work to do. The bureaus can't interpret your credit report. Only you know which of your credit accounts are legitimate and which aren't. If you think a thief has opened a line of credit in your name, you still have to contact the credit bureau — just as you would do if you learned about the crime because a collection agency called you.

Then there are companies like TrustedID, Debix and LifeLock, which take advantage of a three-year-old federal law that allows people to put fraud alerts on their credit reports. If a fraud alert is on your report, lenders are supposed to call you before issuing credit in your name.

Most of the companies offer some kind of insurance for customers, but the majority of identity theft victims would never need it. Financial losses are typically covered by the bank, merchant, or credit card company that gave credit to the wrong person.

So-called resolution services, which offer to help victims cut through the red tape after a theft occurs, seem like a good idea in complicated cases. But those services are outrageously expensive. One company, Kroll Fraud Solutions, charges between $1,000 and $2,000 to deal with a fairly simple new-account fraud case.

When any of these services are offered by your bank or credit union for free, they're worth it. Bank of America, for example, offers a free service for its customers if they become a victim of identity theft involving Bank of America accounts.

There's no question that most, if not all, of the companies exploit Americans' fear of identity theft to sell their service. They compare identity theft to a calamity such as a house fire. They play up crime figures reported by the Federal Trade Commission and other sources, which state that millions of Americans will become victims every year. And the news media help drive the mania with reports of the most extreme examples.

People give each other paper shredders for Christmas. They scan their bank account and credit card statements for false charges. If the anti-identity-theft companies are to be believed, tens of thousands of people have signed up for services that claim to protect people.

The reality is that the crime isn't nearly as terrible as the identity-protection firms try to scare you into believing.

More than half the cases involve fraudulent credit card charges that are quickly reversed by credit card companies. Even in cases in which thieves open credit accounts in other people's names, the victims usually pay no out-of-pocket costs.

Ironically, the people most likely to buy the services are those least likely to need them. According to LifeLock's literature, most of their customers are 35 to 50, well off, and "not the most susceptible to identity theft."

Police say the hardest hit are young people in their 20s or people of modest means. One California victim described how, after a thief withdrew the $2,000 in her checking account, she was forced to ask her employer for a loan because a bank took two weeks to put the money back.

Believe it or not, even shredding — that staple of identity protection — isn't necessary for many of us, especially if you live in a house with individual garbage collection rather than share a trash bin with neighbors.

Al Shiya, a spokesman for Phoenix's public works department, says that once a garbage truck picks up a trash barrel, there is "zero risk" of identity theft from pilfered garbage. Green-barrel garbage is compressed, put in a pit and covered by dirt in the city's Buckeye landfill the same day it's picked up or the next day. Nobody scavenges at the landfill, which sits on thousands of acres and is surrounded by a high, chain-link fence. Blue-barrel recycling garbage is sorted at a secure facility.

"There have been no incidents in anyone's memory here where anyone's identity was compromised within this process," he says.

Expert Bob Hartle believes none of the ID-protection services — except the ones you can get for free — has any real value. He doesn't trust them, either.

Anyone considering such a service should read the fine print, he says. Many companies require you to give them power of attorney, which Hartle says could be misused. He points out that while some companies say they do criminal background checks on their employees, you won't know if they really do.

The monitoring and relief services help you only after theft has occurred, so you're paying month after month for something you don't normally need. If you do get zapped, it's no big deal to get the problem fixed, he says.

True, the services might sound appealing if you're lazy and have money to burn, but Hartle insists you won't get anything you can't do yourself in very little time.

Most people don't really need a fraud alert on their credit reports. Unless you've published your Social Security number — like LifeLock CEO Todd Davis did — or somebody hacks into your employer's human-resources computer, placing a fraud alert isn't worth the bother.

A fraud alert probably won't prevent crime, as the Davis example shows. A lender may not call a major credit bureau, which means an alert won't be found, or a lender may see an alert but choose not to call its customer.

An alert also may stop you from taking advantage of a good credit offer. If your contact number for a fraud alert is your mobile phone, you'd better have the phone in your purse or pocket before you try to open a new credit account or you'll be stuck.

But some experts recommend fraud alerts as a simple precaution. Most times, an alert should prevent the type of identity theft in which criminals open accounts under your name.

The right to place a fraud alert on your credit report is relatively new, provided courtesy of Congress via the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003, also known as the FACT Act. The main problem for consumers is that the law allows the credit bureaus to lift the fraud alert after 90 days, making it easier for their customers — lenders — to do business. If you want permanent protection, you need to renew the alerts every three months.

Companies that place the alerts for you, like LifeLock and Debix, say that going without their service is like mowing your own lawn or changing your vehicle's oil yourself.

The analogy is flawed, because mowing your lawn or changing your own oil is actually hard work. Sweat will probably be involved, and the chores will take a chunk of time, unlike performing for yourself the service that LifeLock offers.

Placing a fraud alert yourself is a cakewalk. All you have to do is dial the toll-free phone number of one of the major credit bureaus. The process will take less than five minutes, maybe as little as two or three minutes. You have to notify only one of the major credit bureaus of a fraud alert because that bureau will then notify the other two. If you let six months go by without placing an alert, no biggie — remember, you probably don't need it in the first place.

If you've already become a victim, and you've got an official identity-theft report, it would be downright dumb to pay someone to place the fraud alert. That's because victims have the right to place a seven-year fraud alert, eliminating the need for frequent renewals.

Pulling your credit report is another service these companies offer that you can do for free. Simply log on to the secure Web site, or call 1-877-322-8228 and punch in some personal data.

You can pull the reports of all three bureaus once a year, or stagger your reports by pulling one from each bureau every four months. Most of the time, though not always, the records at the three bureaus are the same.

"Getting your credit report three times a year should be enough to find out, generally, what's going on," says Gail Hillebrand, a senior attorney for Consumers Union, the nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports.

It costs about $9 to see your credit score, but the credit bureaus will give you the score and other data during a free, month-long trial period. Hillebrand says that's not a bad way to go, as long as you're careful to cancel the membership before the free trial ends.

The two measures — pulling your credit report and placing fraud alerts — are so easy that you would spend just as much time and effort signing up with a service company. And ask yourself, when the company starts sending you regular e-mails, credit reports, and other information, will you really take the time to study all of that? Probably not, if you don't even have time to pull your own credit report.

If you never look at your credit report and you haven't placed a fraud alert, it's easier for someone to take credit out in your name. Being a victim will make you feel violated and ticked off. It will definitely cost you some time.

The service companies want you to believe you'll be devastated.

The truth is, police and prosecutors say, severe cases of identity theft are rare. With some legwork, financial damage is almost always reversed, says Annielaurie Van Wie, a prosecutor with the Maricopa County Attorney's office.

"I haven't seen people having a lot of problems with that," she says.

That means you're likely to pay one of the service companies more over time than you ever will ever be out in an identity-theft scam.

Sure, you'd rather not have it happen at all, but if it does, your involvement could help convict a thief. That's what happened after an ex-con pretended to be Cameron Dana of Mesa.

Last year, a man using Dana's name took out a $20,000 commercial loan at a store by filling out a form. Once the credit was approved, the first thing he bought was a utility trailer. As store employees looked on, thinking they were seeing the birth of a construction company, the man packed the trailer with new power tools and other supplies until the funds were exhausted. Then he hitched the trailer to his new Ford F-350 diesel pickup and drove off.

The man was really Richard Hainsworth, a 36-year-old meth user. Armed with Dana's identification, Hainsworth acted like a lottery winner for about two weeks, racking up about $75,000 in charges.

Only after Hainsworth visited another Home Depot, this time in Mesa, did anyone get suspicious. When he applied for $1,000 in personal credit and promptly bought about $1,000 in goods, someone at the store notified Citigroup, the company Home Depot uses for its credit services.

Hainsworth left with the merchandise, but a Citigroup agent called the real Cameron Dana to double-check the purchase.

Dana, 32, is a sixth-generation Arizonan descended from Mormon pioneers and raised in Mesa. He's a tall, burly guy with close-cropped hair and big hands who makes a living buying and refurbishing homes, then selling them at a profit. After hanging up the phone with Citigroup, Dana asked a buddy what to do and was soon looking at his credit reports on the Internet.

They showed a total of 16 new credit accounts opened in his name, each one laden with charges:

A $30,000 truck, the $20,000 in goods from Home Depot, a Harley-Davidson from a Prescott motorcycle dealer, cell phones, a $5,000 visit to OfficeMax.

Dana called police, then began conducting his own investigation.

"To every one of the merchants, I said, 'Get your security tapes,'" he recalled. "My most motivating factor: I wanted to see what this guy's face looked like."

He turned over everything he found to the cops.

"I would have liked to strangle the guy," he says.

Hainsworth was arrested in June 2006 by Gilbert police and later convicted on a 2005 charge of stealing a boat. He's serving 61/2 years in prison, but faces another sentencing soon in Yavapai County for stealing the Harley.

Mesa police say they are using the evidence they collected in Dana's case to aid in the Yavapai prosecution.

Dana, on the other hand, wound up fine — despite his complete lack of identity-theft protection.

It cost him a few postage stamps to make the five-figure debt disappear, though he was forced to commit a few solid hours to the mess. He obtained a police report and filled out a Citigroup identity-theft form, then gave copies of the documents to the credit bureaus. He made 16 copies of the Citigroup form and mailed them to each of the merchants who gave out the credit. He put a seven-year fraud alert on his credit report. Then he was done.

Just in case some other thief gets hold of Dana's personal data, he will have to check his credit report more often in the future.

"I can do it myself," he says.

On the second floor of the nondescript Lincoln Towne Center in Scottsdale is the headquarters of Identity Theft 911, which moved to the Valley in late 2004 from San Francisco. One of the company's stated goals is education, and it puts out a lot of information on its Web site about how to beat identity thieves. It's a for-profit firm that partners with major financial institutions, which give its victim-help service to customers.

Mark Fullbright is one of several advocates who work the phones at Identity Theft 911.

"People are shaken, angry," says Fullbright, who says he has worked at local banks for the past 15 years and has become something of a fraud expert. "We give them a lot of assurance. You could have a phone call last an hour, or just a few minutes."

The company's clients include AFL-CIO member unions' employees, banks, credit unions, and insurance companies. Outside of its victim-help service, Identity Theft 911 offers credit monitoring to customers for a fee, but it doesn't push the feature.

"We don't know why anybody would pay for [anti-identity-theft] service," says Eduard Goodman, the company's general counsel.

Goodman and Fullbright also eschew the prevailing wisdom about fraud alerts, saying, although their company can place the alerts, people don't really need them unless they believe it's very likely they'll be victimized.

Goodman also points out a potential drawback to more people placing fraud alerts on their accounts: "The more fraud alerts out there, it's like crying wolf."

The attitude is different at other companies, like Debix, an Austin-based competitor of LifeLock that markets to individual consumers by playing up the fear angle.

"The risks for you as a consumer, you know, just like car accidents, are real," says Debix CEO Bo Holland in a telephone interview. "House fires are real."

Debix is very similar to LifeLock, and its services cost about the same: $99 a year. The company places a fraud alert with the credit bureaus but adds a twist. When someone tries to open a line of credit in the name of a Debix customer, the company calls the customer and asks for a PIN to complete the transaction.

Despite the bells and whistles, it's still the same old thing. You pay a lot for someone to do a few minutes worth of easy work. Same with Truston, TrustedID, the services offered by the credit bureaus, and many others.

A company called PrePaid Legal Services Inc. employs armies of independent contractors to help sell its anti-identity-theft services, which are actually provided by Kroll Fraud Solutions. Because of that apparent lack of control, Hartle, the identity theft expert, singles out PrePaid Legal as a company to be particularly wary of.

To the contrary, says Robert Garcia, a retired 25-year veteran of the Tucson Police Department who represents the company. He says Kroll performs background checks on its freelance workers, unlike other companies in the field. He says no PrePaid Legal employee has ever misused a customer's personal information.

Even if it's safe to use PrePaid Legal, potential customers might tremble at the price. Garcia says he recently contracted with the city of Tucson to offer city employees a plan that costs $25 a month, more than twice as much as typical protection services. Sure, the price includes help with legal matters, like wills, but people usually don't rewrite wills every month.

Van Wie, the county prosecutor, attends community meetings around the Valley regularly, and people often ask what she thinks of anti-identity-theft services. She says she doesn't recommend them.

If anything, she believes the plans offered by the credit bureaus make the most sense because they hold the credit reports.

"I don't steer people toward anything, but I'll say, 'Look at what you're getting for your money,'" Van Wie says. "I explain how to do it themselves."

Van Wie's bureau filed more than 2,600 cases of identity theft-related crimes last year, including 15 cases of trafficking in stolen identities. Her office couldn't immediately break down how many of the cases were serious and how many were resolved with little hassle and no expense to the victims.

Van Wie does not use an identify theft service personally.

The credit history of LifeLock's CEO was hardly blemish-free before the Texas thief stole his identity. Like the company's founder, Robert Maynard Jr., Todd Davis also has a bankruptcy on his record. He filed in 2000 to escape about $82,000 in unpaid bills, federal records show.

His credit score might be higher now, if you believe the two-year-old company's claim that it has gained tens of thousands of customers just in the past month. It just moved into a second location at Hayden Ferry Lakeside Office Tower II, on the banks of Tempe's Town Lake.

It's true that LifeLock has become one of the most recognized names in identity-theft protection because of its robust radio advertising on the Howard Stern, Rush Limbaugh, and Paul Harvey shows.

But if you listen to its competitors, LifeLock is also one of the biggest jokes in the industry — which is really something, considering the industry as a whole isn't much better.

LifeLock's marketing style and its ability to find both customers and investor funding makes the bosses at other companies fume with indignation and, perhaps, jealousy.

Then came New Times' May 31 story, which focused on Maynard, and much of that fuming turned to glee.

"I can't lie to you," says Goodman, general counsel for Identity Theft 911. "I was very pleased with [that] story."

Maynard had been telling a tale for two years that he was falsely arrested by Valley authorities in 2003 and held for a week in jail because of a Mirage Casino debt he didn't owe. The experience gave him the idea to start LifeLock, he said. The story was retold to newspapers and TV news stations by Maynard and Davis as a horrific example of why people need the company's services.

After New Times revealed Maynard's story was full of holes, California-based Truston began offering discounts to LifeLock customers who switched services. Debix later did the same thing. Company spokesmen rushed to the comment sections of industry blog sites to pile on LifeLock — and plug their own companies as a better alternative.

But some loyalty to LifeLock was evident in an avalanche of Internet tongue-wagging that followed the article. On one blog site, TechCrunch, editor Michael Arrington posited that a "hit job" on LifeLock might have been part of a conspiracy by the credit bureaus, which ostensibly don't want LifeLock to steal business from them.

The New Times story became even more widely read when, the day after it was published, presidential candidate Fred Thompson announced he had done a radio ad for LifeLock that would air over the next two months.

The timing of the story and other articles about Thompson's involvement became an embarrassment to Thompson as his critics used the LifeLock ad to bludgeon him. The Los Angeles Times covered the development in a June 9 story titled "An Awkward Ad by Fred Thompson," which also mentioned Maynard's bogus claims of identity theft but uncovered no new information.

A couple of days later, LifeLock announced that Maynard had resigned.

In early July, LifeLock hired public-relations heavyweight Jason Rose to help with its tarnished image. New Times e-mailed LifeLock new questions for this article, and LifeLock's CEO e-mailed a response, starting by thanking New Times "for pointing out to us a number of issues regarding LifeLock co-founder Robert Maynard Jr."

The company claims to be distancing itself from Maynard, who still owns about 10 percent of the business, and Davis says the company's founder no longer has access to an office or any LifeLock systems, and that he has no more ability to conduct business for LifeLock.

However, Davis says the company will continue to employ Maynard as a consultant who works from home. Asked to explain why the founder was being retained by LifeLock in any way, Davis did not comment.

Davis, who claims he never knew Maynard's jail story was false, had previously said he would investigate the tale but now says he considers the matter closed. He denies, however, that he repeated Maynard's story at a Phoenix golf club in June before members of the local business group, the Enterprise Network. Michelle LaFlam, the network's administrator, initially told New Times she recalled Davis telling the story but, when reached again in July, says he may not have repeated it, after all.

In any case, Rose says LifeLock employees won't continue to recite Maynard's story. And, he says, LifeLock plans to remove all references and links to articles about the tale from its Web site.

Maynard, who refused to answer questions from New Times before the May 31 article, commented to and Zetter from after it appeared. He told Scambusters that he had "no knowledge" of the casino debt, but that he chose to pay the $16,000 because it wasn't much money to him. In fact, Maynard was hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt in 2003.

"I understand the issue in Nevada looks bad, but I did not do it," he wrote.

He also was quoted as saying he and his father co-signed for the American Express card, though he offered no proof.

David Cowan, who in April was among the investors who gave LifeLock $6 million in new funding, wrote in his blog space in June that Maynard has health issues that affected his past. Cowan wrote that Maynard has bipolar disorder, which can lead to "dire financial and legal consequences," but that LifeLock's founder received proper treatment and "built his third company responsibly."

In an e-mail exchange with New Times this month, Maynard refused to comment on his medical history. But he did ask his Phoenix lawyer, Martin Galbut, to respond for the first time to New Times' questions about the jail story and about the American Express deal.

In a curious July 5 letter to New Times asking for unneeded corrections, Galbut wrote that the May 31 story "misrepresents facts" concerning the 2003 Mirage casino incident. As for the evidence, Galbut says Maynard can prove a fake California driver's license was issued in his name and revoked in 2000.

Galbut was asked how the fake California license he says was issued in 2000 relates to two apparently genuine driver's licenses of Maynard's on file at the Mirage in 2003 — but he hadn't explained that by press time.

The accusation that Maynard Jr. stole his father's identity to obtain a credit card is false, Galbut writes, because Maynard Sr. "has never alleged that the initial American Express card was obtained fraudulently."

Yet that's exactly what Maynard Sr. alleged in New Times' May 31 article.

In a follow-up phone call to Galbut's firm, attorney Bryan Gottfredson says he can't explain the discrepancy.

Reached again in July, Maynard Sr. says he's been advised by his lawyer not to talk further about the American Express case, because a lawsuit against him by the company for the unpaid bill hasn't been settled. But he added that New Times' May 31 story is accurate.

Though LifeLock contends it's ending its lying ways, Robert Maynard Jr.'s brainchild company just can't seem to break the habit.

One of the most jarring examples of a type of service nobody should ever buy is the "audit" LifeLock claims it performs on whether a child's Social Security number has been stolen by criminals.

Experts say it may be a good idea for parents to occasionally inquire whether a child's personal information is being exploited. A child wouldn't be held responsible for fraudulent charges, but identity theft could affect his or her future credit rating.

In a 2005 press release regarding its service for children, LifeLock says it will "track any unusual 'work activity' with the Social Security Administration." More recently, in one of his e-mails to New Times, LifeLock CEO Davis wrote, "For $25 a year, LifeLock performs an auditing service to make sure your child's Social Security number isn't being fraudulently used by someone else."

Mark Hinkle of the Social Security Administration says such claims simply aren't true. He stresses that the agency doesn't partner with or do audits on behalf of any private company.

Asked again about the matter, LifeLock revealed how its "audit" works. Customers who order the service merely receive a Social Security Administration statement-request form from LifeLock and instructions on how to mail it to the government. Called an SSA-7004, the form is available online at

"Due to the Administration's rules, we are unable to sign this form on your behalf," LifeLock's instructions state.

Speaking for the company, Jason Rose denies LifeLock misleads anyone about how it portrays its service for children.

But to use the oil-change analogy, the "audit" LifeLock claims to perform is like paying Jiffy Lube to hand you a wrench.

LifeLock also makes sure your child has no credit bureau account. Once you give the company your child's personal information, LifeLock attempts to pull a free annual credit report (which any semi-intelligent parent could do in five minutes). If no credit report comes up, as it shouldn't, then everything is okay.

LifeLock doesn't tell customers the employment "audit" won't be accurate. Or that it's not all that necessary. The Social Security Administration has a system in which it mails out letters to parents if computers show that someone under the age of 7 is earning wages.

Even if an illegal immigrant is using your child's Social Security number for employment, that alone won't cause any negative effect. And Hinkle says that unless the immigrant uses the child's name as well as Social Security number, the agency won't print the immigrant's work history on the child's Social Security statement:

"In most cases, if you're talking about fraudulent work, it doesn't even get credited to the earnings report because it doesn't match."

Just days after he attended a seminar on identity theft by Bob and JoAnn Hartle, retired postal worker Mike Wysocki noticed a bunch of strange packages in his mail.

"I had five or six little packets that contained CDs," says Wysocki, 55. "One was eBay Monster, another was how to obtain government grants — odd things."

Wysocki went online and checked his credit card account at Arizona Federal Credit Union. He found 19 charges, all for small amounts and totaling $289, that weren't his. He canceled his card. The next day, he received a bunch of books in the mail.

He asked a police officer why someone would do that — what would they gain by sending him stuff? The cop was stumped, but a credit union fraud specialist told Wysocki it was common. Thieves often test a credit card number with small purchases, and if all goes well, they move to the big stuff.

The credit union told him it would take about four months to investigate, and it would fully reimburse him if he wasn't at fault.

Wysocki says he placed a fraud alert on his credit report with a quick phone call.

But the fraud alert wouldn't stop a similar crime from occurring on another credit card. Credit-monitoring services wouldn't have caught the transaction, because they don't monitor bank and credit union accounts.

The service companies can do nothing to prevent credit card fraud, the most common form of identity theft. Nor can they help with most other forms.

Phoenix police Sergeant Jason Davis, who works with the department's document crimes detail, described a few of the schemes for New Times. Identity thieves, he says, can be pretty inventive.

In a frustrating turnabout, thieves will get someone's personal data and use it to obtain a free credit report. Once thieves find out somebody has a Sears charge card, for example, they can go to Sears and probably make purchases on the account.

The services can't stop that, either.

Another huge problem the services don't prevent is medical identity theft. There's no central reporting agency for medical bills. Davis' boss, Lieutenant Giles Tipsword, says organized theft rings have been getting their hands on Medicare profiles, then selling them to other fraudsters who ran up charges for tens of thousands of dollars of health care.

Just having a criminal use your personal information at all can be a big problem, even if the crook doesn't use the data to steal anything. If police have an arrest warrant with your name on it, you could be arrested the next time you are pulled over for speeding.

Sergeant Davis says he talked to a woman who found out the thief using her identity had caused police to issue multiple warrants for her arrest. Phoenix police had her come down for fingerprinting, then gave her a letter saying she wasn't the wanted criminal who was using her name, date of birth, and Social Security number.

If you are arrested falsely in a case like that — even if you've joined a service company like LifeLock — you'll still have a negative experience to remember.

At a news conference in June, Phoenix police brought out printers, other document-making equipment, and hundreds of checks that came from a single bust of identity theft suspects. The suspects were using personal information from new victims to alter the checks, stolen from a bank vehicle in 2004, in an attempt to cash them.

"There's no foolproof way to stop this," Tipsword says.

So the best advice is: Don't fall prey to identify-protection scams.

Chances are you'll never be targeted by identity thieves. And if you are, there's next to nothing an identity-protection firm could've done to prevent it. Or much it could do to help you solve the problem that you couldn't easily do yourself — at little to no expense.


Placing a fraud alert tells someone loaning money in your name to call you first. Drawback: Might delay an impulsive credit purchase.

Here's how to do it:
Call 1-888-397-3742

This is the number for Experian, one of the major credit reporting bureaus. They'll report the fraud alert to other bureaus.

Calling this number gives you automated options. Here's what to do:
Press 2 (you don't want the "free" offer),
Press 3 (you want the fraud stuff, not more sales offers),
Press 2 (to place an alert),
Press 1 (for initial 90-day fraud alert).
Getting to this stage takes approximately 1 minute; then you punch in your personal identification numbers.

Super-easy and free process:
or call 1-877-322-8228

Show Pages
My Voice Nation Help

The LL products were not developed in a jail cell in 2003. The nefarious origin was developed in the back of a taxi cab in March 2005, in less than 35 minutes with the help of a taxi driver named “Jimmie” who came up with the information on fraud alerts, because of his misfortune in Id Theft in 2002, and learning of placing credit fraud alerts by then Gov. Janet Napolitano in Arizona in September 2003 for 2 yrs. originally, then changed to every 3 months in February 2005, and the Original intellectual idea for “Lost Wallet” and “True Credit Address” & “Red Alerts”, a self replicating software product came from “Jimmie”. Also marketing channels of advertising were discussed. You should have seen Mr. Maynard after learning of the fraud alert system and product ideas, he lost his mind repeating”oh my God”, “oh my God” ( a light bulb turned on!) on a business idea. The 2003 jail story and a taxi drivers bank ID theft was used together as a marketing idea. A Phoenix New Times reporter was standing outside the cab in March 2005 when a 1% handshake deal on all “Liflock” profits was discussed mutually between “Jimmie” and Mr. Maynard as he exited the vehicle on Mill Ave in Tempe, down the street from the now, new offices of LL. I’d say be careful with the company, as the thing the taxi driver got was “LL” idea theft, no recognition or $$ for the product ideas in 9 years…


Partnered with Pre-Paid Legal, Kroll does not claim to prevent thieves from obtaining and misusing personal information � that would be impossible. What they do offer; however, is a promise to monitor their customer's credit and quickly inform them of suspicious credit activity and fully restore their credit to its previous status. In conjunction with a legal plan ($3 more otherwise), the cost is $9.95/mth for monitoring through Experian or $12.95/mth for monitoring though all three companies. This plan covers the primary member and their spouse, a considerable difference from most companies that require a membership each.

My friend was a victim of IDT a few weeks ago and Kroll called to inform her before she even noticed. Her bank accounts were already drained and Kroll of course instructed her to freeze any other funds, which she did. Within hours, the thief also attempted unsuccessfully to drain retirement accounts and had secured a driver's license in her name. Without the identity protection, she would not have known about the financial theft in time to freeze several accounts and may not have become aware of the license until possibly the thief had a traffic accident that she became responsible for financially or criminally if it involved manslaughter, even involuntary.

This is where the legal insurance becomes necessary. It can cost a little as $17 for 24-hour access to quality attorneys across the United States, including Hawaii and not Alaska. This includes the primary member, their spouse, legal dependants age 21 or less, full time students age 23 or less (with documentation), and disabled dependants for life (with documentation).

Plan include:Will preparation including revision yearly for the primary member ($20 for spouse or dependants) � we agree monthly revision would be excessive!Phone Consultations on Unlimited MattersUnlimited Contract and Document Review (up to 10 pages) One phone call or letter per (unlimited) subjectTwo business letters per yearYour lawyer will represent you against moving traffic violations (even in your absence) Your lawyer will defend you when you are charged with Manslaughter, Involuntary Manslaughter, Negligent Homicide, or Vehicular Homicide - I have not heard of any other insurance covering this!60 hours (Standard plan) of your Provider Lawyer's time at no additional cost when you or your spouse is named defendant or respondent in a covered civil or criminal action filed in a court of law. Your hours of legal service also increase over time.50 hours of your lawyer's time (including preparation and representation) in the event of an IRS audit25% discount on other services

I live in OR and was looking at PPL here. Coverage varies slightly as state laws are not the same. Further details under Plan Benefits:


As you can see, there is much more to the Pre-Paid Legal insurance plan than described in this article! Unfortunately, it doesn�t seem like thorough research was executed here.The $25 price quoted probably comes from our Expanded plan, which offers additional court representation hours, not identity theft protection. I personally recommend the Identity Theft protection and the Standard plan because I doubt many people will need more.

Best wishes, Sally Identity Theft Protection & Legal Insurance

cyber secure
cyber secure

Here is an email that I wrote to the Houston Chronicle...LifeLock must be stopped before too many people get hurt.

The Houston Chronicle ran an advertisement this past Thursday (September 20, 2007) for LifeLock. In the advertisement, Todd Davis claims that his service is so secure that he posts his true Social Security Number. I have attached a few articles below that prove, beyond a doubt, that the LifeLock service is not secure. His social security number was in fact stolen and used to obtain loans. It is also alleged that the founder of LifeLock stole his own fathers identity to obtain a loan to start Identity Theft Prevention about irony!

Our firm, Learn Privacy ( has publically challenged Todd Davis and LifeLock's claims. We can show, and have shown, at least 15 other ways to use his SSN for ill-gotten gains. There is absolutely no known way to secure one's identity. You can only make it difficult for a person to steal it and you can also recover from it...that is it. No one, including the finest minds at M.I.T., Harvard, Yale, Princeton or any other organization has ever devised a way of preventing the theft of a persons identity.

Here are just a few quotes about LifeLock's founder...

"His credit-repair company was shut down by authorities in the early 1990s for false advertising and deceptive practices. Forced closure means that a federal court order has banned Maynard from working in the credit-repair industry � forever."

"If it were based in Nevada, LifeLock would be subjecting itself to potential criminal liability for obtaining money or services under false pretenses"

Ray Stern
Ray Stern


Police in Texas have accused LifeLock of coercing a confession from the mentally disabled man who stole Davis' identity to take out a loan. No charges will be filed against the suspect because of LifeLock's involvement.For more details, see:


This too is a bit off topic for this particular article by Ray Stern, but I'm relieved to learn I'm not alone after reading comment # 9 here. I too was in disbelief at reading the irrational comment, a totally misdirected accusation coupled with an inability or unwillingness to read, that was posted by New Times writer Sarah Fenske the day before this # 9 comment was posted. (It was among comments posted to her "The Real Rip-Off Report" story.) I must say her unfounded screaming accusation was like witnessing a two-year old throwing a temper tantrum. Uncanny, thin-skinned, shallow, unfounded and unprofessional to put it simply. And she calls herself a journalist?


Who is this idiot above? He has Nunner brains. The comments obviously aren't shut off! And, besides, what's this fool's rant got to do with the LifeLock story?

Nuner U. Bidnis
Nuner U. Bidnis

Well, well, well.

It didn't take long for PHOENIX New Times to resort to abridging your First Amendment Right to Free Speech. Our writers can say anything bad they want about other people or businesses, but the minute you say anything bad about them... they shut off the ability to have a reasoned discussion about their lapses of judgement. Notice that the comments are shut off the the post below as of this post.

I posted my comments [#13] to the Sarah Fenske article, "The Real Rip-Off Report"

[Read the pleas of this author, Ray Stern, for help with this VERY story.]

Sarah first responds to me in her anonymous tirade as "hatefuckingliars" which is illogical and reveals her venom. Believe me, this is the real portentous Christian-in-uncharitible-clothing.

Then she later responds by denying my allegations, introducing counterallegations (even accusing me of being Ed Magedson, which shows her dementia; Ed could never be this cogent! or show this level of mastery of language and grammar, as witnessed by his attached appeal in the original article.)

Fenske shows how truly desperate she is and then finally gets her buddy, John F. Brewington, who admits putting her up to this hit piece, while also being under investigation himself. Then she shuts down the ability to respond. True to New Times standards... "Accept no truth but New Times truth." Dissent is never tolerated and if it angers an advertiser, it (or you) are out. Sounds like Soviet Russia more than the voice of the people.

Sarah never mentions that and she also never admits that she failed to fully research the issue. The whole SEO issue is one that is so hotly under scrutiny that it should probably be part of this story.

Here is what the FTC has to say about companies like QED Media, which incorporates the sheer malevolence of Russo, Stanley, and Brewington. Sarah never reported that Russo and Stanley, hired by Brewington, had been convicted of making threats (that's assault, folks) and ordered to cease and desist their harassment of Magedson. I guess Sarah has joined this gang of thugs.

Here is something else that Sarah concealed about her research of SEOs like QED Media [This is from the Google Webmaster Help Center, parts actually extracted from the Federal Trade Commission website]:

"What's an SEO? Does Google recommend working with companies that offer to make my site Google-friendly?

SEO is an abbreviation for "search engine optimizer." Many SEOs provide useful services for website owners, from writing copy to giving advice on site architecture and helping to find relevant directories to which a site can be submitted. However, a few unethical SEOs have given the industry a black eye through their overly aggressive marketing efforts and their attempts to unfairly manipulate search engine results.

While Google doesn't have relationships with any SEOs and doesn't offer recommendations, we do have a few tips that may help you distinguish between an SEO that will improve your site and one that will only improve your chances of being dropped from search engine results altogether.

Be wary of SEO firms that send you email out of the blue. Amazingly, we get these spam emails too:

"Dear,I visited your website and noticed that you are not listed in most of the major search engines and directories..." Reserve the same skepticism for unsolicited email about search engines as you do for "burn fat at night" diet pills or requests to help transfer funds from deposed dictators.

No one can guarantee a #1 ranking on Google. Beware of SEOs that claim to guarantee rankings, allege a "special relationship" with Google, or advertise a "priority submit" to Google. There is no priority submit for Google. In fact, the only way to submit a site to Google directly is through our Add URL page or through the Google Sitemaps program, and you can do this yourself at no cost whatsoever.

Be careful if a company is secretive or won't clearly explain what they intend to do. Ask for explanations if something is unclear. If an SEO creates deceptive or misleading content on your behalf, such as doorway pages or "throwaway" domains, your site could be removed entirely from Google's index. Ultimately, you are responsible for the actions of any companies you hire, so it's best to be sure you know exactly how they intend to "help" you.

You should never have to link to an SEO. Avoid SEOs that talk about the power of "free-for-all" links, link popularity schemes, or submitting your site to thousands of search engines. These are typically useless exercises that don't affect your ranking in the results of the major search engines -- at least, not in a way you would likely consider to be positive.

Some SEOs may try to sell you the ability to type keywords directly into the browser address bar. Most such proposals require users to install extra software, and very few users do so. Evaluate such proposals with extreme care and be skeptical about the self-reported number of users who have downloaded the required applications.

Choose wisely. While you consider whether to go with an SEO, you may want to do some research on the industry. Google is one way to do that, of course. You might also seek out a few of the cautionary tales that have appeared in the press, including this article on one particularly aggressive SEO: http://seattletimes.nwsource.c.... While Google doesn't comment on specific companies, we've encountered firms calling themselves SEOs who follow practices that are clearly beyond the pale of accepted business behavior. Be careful.

Be sure to understand where the money goes. While Google never sells better ranking in our search results, several other search engines combine pay-per-click or pay-for-inclusion results with their regular web search results. Some SEOs will promise to rank you highly in search engines, but place you in the advertising section rather than in the search results. A few SEOs will even change their bid prices in real time to create the illusion that they "control" other search engines and can place themselves in the slot of their choice. This scam doesn't work with Google because our advertising is clearly labeled and separated from our search results, but be sure to ask any SEO you're considering which fees go toward permanent inclusion and which apply toward temporary advertising.

Talk to many SEOs, and ask other SEOs if they'd recommend the firm you're considering. References are a good start, but they don't tell the whole story. You should ask how long a company has been in business and how many full time individuals it employs. If you feel pressured or uneasy, go with your gut feeling and play it safe: hold off until you find a firm that you can trust. Ask your SEO firm if it reports every spam abuse that it finds to Google using our spam complaint form at Ethical SEO firms report deceptive sites that violate Google's spam guidelines.

Make sure you're protected legally. For your own safety, you should insist on a full and unconditional money-back guarantee. Don't be afraid to request a refund if you're unsatisfied for any reason, or if your SEO's actions cause your domain to be removed from a search engine's index. Make sure you have a contract in writing that includes pricing. The contract should also require the SEO to stay within the guidelines recommended by each search engine for site inclusion.

What are the most common abuses a website owner is likely to encounter?

One common scam is the creation of "shadow" domains that funnel users to a site by using deceptive redirects. These shadow domains often will be owned by the SEO who claims to be working on a client's behalf. However, if the relationship sours, the SEO may point the domain to a different site, or even to a competitor's domain. If that happens, the client has paid to develop a competing site owned entirely by the SEO.

Another illicit practice is to place "doorway" pages loaded with keywords on the client's site somewhere. The SEO promises this will make the page more relevant for more queries. This is inherently false since individual pages are rarely relevant for a wide range of keywords. More insidious, however, is that these doorway pages often contain hidden links to the SEO's other clients as well. Such doorway pages drain away the link popularity of a site and route it to the SEO and its other clients, which may include sites with unsavory or illegal content.

What are some other things to look out for?

There are a few warning signs that you may be dealing with a rogue SEO. It's far from a comprehensive list, so if you have any doubts, you should trust your instincts. By all means, feel free to walk away if the SEO:

owns shadow domains puts links to their other clients on doorway pages offers to sell keywords in the address bar doesn't distinguish between actual search results and ads that appear in search results guarantees ranking, but only on obscure, long keyword phrases you would get anyway operates with multiple aliases or falsified WHOIS info gets traffic from "fake" search engines, spyware, or scumware has had domains removed from Google's index or is not itself listed in Google If you feel that you were deceived by an SEO in some way, you may want to report it.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) handles complaints about deceptive or unfair business practices. To file a complaint, visit: and click on "File a Complaint Online," call 1-877-FTC-HELP, or write to:

Federal Trade CommissionCRC-240Washington, D.C. 20580 If your complaint is against a company in another country, please file it at"

Rob Anderson
Rob Anderson

Ray Stern is absolutely clueless. He clearly has no idea about the concerns or affects of identity theft as a whole. He's quick to point out some of the industry's perceived shortcomings, but lacks the journalistic integrity and expertise to cover all sides fairly. I guess that's par for the course for a paper that's more focused on selling advertising spots for massage palors and hookers than it is for reporting the accurate facts.

The real Danny Lents - IdTheft
The real Danny Lents - IdTheft

Identity theft insurance certainly seems like a very profitable scheme for the insurance companies. Let�s say they charge $13 per month and they have 500,000 customers. The current US population is approximately 302 million, so 500,000 customers only represent 0.16% of the population. Even with only 500,000 customers, a company can bring in $78,000,000 per year by charging $13 per month.

Most of the insurance customers won't make claims given that less than 4% of Americans become victims each year. Even all ID theft victims who are insurance companies wont' make expensive claims because of claim caps, deductibles and other limitations.

It's easy to see why the ID theft insurance companies are making the big marketing push.

Would you be able to trust that someone else has done a through job of taking care of issues involving your identity theft? I think most of us would feel compelled to verify an ID theft insurance company actually did the work -- you may as well do it yourself.


Bold & Beautiful
Bold & Beautiful

Damn Dan, why don't you just get a job with the New Times and write your own article. By the sounds of it, LifeLock won't be able to deal with a customers issues if they did get their identity stolen!! Todd deserves what he got. What a idiot to give out his SS# to the public. He should have known better. But then again, he let Maynard be a investor in the company!!


On behalf of LifeLock, I would like to provide for New Times readers some of the information that was given to the reporter in response to his questions, but not used or addressed in this story. We strongly believe that this information shows, in no uncertain terms, that LifeLock�s protections do work to greatly reduce the chances of identity theft and that all but a small handful of LifeLock�s 200,000 plus customers are satisfied with the service.

Please consider:

� According to a statistic reported in the original May 31 New Times story about LifeLock, an average of 3.7 percent of Americans were victims of identity theft and FTC statistics showing about 100 out of every 100,000 Americans have fallen victim. LifeLock is aware only seven (7) reported identity thefts among its well over 200,000 customers, or roughly .0003 percent. It�s also just a fraction of a fraction of the national average reported in New Times on May 31. Seven is seven too many, but we believe this information pointed to a very important bottom line: LifeLock is effective in preventing identity theft.� LifeLock has six documented Better Business Bureau complaints in its history. While LifeLock also believes that six complaints is six too many, this is also a highly enviable record in the service industry where any growing company of LifeLock�s size could easily generate hundreds of complaints without necessarily being tarnished. None of these complaints involved identity theft, all were addressed and all but two were resolved to the customer�s satisfaction.� The average cancellation rate for LifeLock is seven percent, again an enviable attrition rate for any service. None of the cancellations were the result of stolen identity.

We appreciate the opportunity to provide this context for New Times readers,

Robbie SherwoodRose & Allyn Public Relations


As a Certified Identity Theft & Risk Management Specialist I must agree with Dan. You did a great job in stating some of the facts, but should research the entire issue. There are articles writen everyday about somebody who was arrested because someone else commited a crime in there name. Or found out someone had had surgery using their identity, or even working in their name. You can google any of these and find thousands of creditable articles about these other areas of identity theft.The Gardner report says that there were 15 million victiums last year and the FTC state it can take on average up to 600 hours to fix the problem. I believe most be should be aware of identity theft and do not have the time to fix the problem.

Dan Robison
Dan Robison

I am always entertained by the "experts" that say that you can do everything yourself for free. On the one hand, I applaud the New Times for their recent articles exposing the CreditLock marketing as unreal and imperfect. Then on the other hand as someone who spends many hours everyday researching, teaching, and helping others be able to restore their identities, I have to wonder if you consider your "expert" the last word.The news reports aren't lies nor is the scrambling by local, state and national governments to turn the tide a waste of time, money and energy. Just because some retired guy who has all the time in the world to fight his own battle says that restoring your good name which took your whole life to establish is a do-it-yourself project, that doesn't mean that the rest of us are going to drop our guard.Let's face it. Credit fraud is only 28 to 44% of the problem depending on who's statistics you believe and your "expert" seems to think that the banks and credit card companies are going to eat the losses carte blanche. The FTC provides through several laws, what the timeframes for consumer liability is and it's not a free ticket out of jail just cause you deny it after the fact.Since there is medical, criminal, IRS, Social Security, Drivers License, criminal AND financial identity theft, does this mean that if Pierre, an illegal alien steals your identity in Florida, gets arrested for shoplifting in Kentucky with your identity, gets a traffic ticket in South Carolina for speeding, has knee surgery in Alabama, buys a house in Tennessee and sells it 2 months later, gets a job in Georgia and after working for 6 months starts a business in Texas, your expert can deal with all state laws and jurisdictions, repair the medical records individuals don't have access to, then take care of the warrants for arrest in both states. Of course the buyers and sellers of the real estate will worry about the legal issues they have, the social security administration will blindly give you credit for the payroll deductions the thief didn't pay, the IRS won't care about the taxes owed on the business, not paying all the creditors of the business is no problem, and the landlord, the sales tax department, and on and on will just shred the files and move on?So the solution is that they all call you up and when you say that despite the fact that none of those things were done by you, that you have no liability, no problems with bill collectors, government agencies, lawsuits and can walk away Scot-free with no damage. Your "expert" shows little or no knowledge of the seriousness and extent of the Identity Theft problem.Identity Theft is a global reality. The ones that call the bank, they forgive them and move on are lucky (this time around).Thank you for pointing out how lacking CreditLock is. If anyone thinks they can solve everything they don't watch the news. After a few years of fraud alerts that are placed where no fraud exists yet, no one will pay attention to them. It will be the same as crying wolf.The best organizations that train people to know and understand Identity Theft prevention, protection and restoration are not on the forefront. You won't see Rush Limbaugh and Dr. Laura advertising them 10 times a program. Since it may cost an ounce for prevention, you won't see the penny pinchers buying it, cause they do their own taxes, represent themselves in court, and possibly perform their own surgery because they don't believe in doctors or going to the hospital either. Their lives are simple and so is Identity Theft; so simple it has no solution.In my limited experience in going from asking 25 people in a room if they have heard of identity theft with 10 or so not raising a hand a year or so ago, to everyone knowing and 5 or more out of the 25 being a victim, I would say the alarm bells are ringing.Less than 5% of the thieves get caught(just the stupid ones).Tens of millions of victims, with billions in losses and no end in sight, and we don�t need to keep tabs on our financial situation on a daily basis you say?Tons of new laws are being enacted with most of them targeting what businesses do to help the consumer.Over 158 million records lost (that we know of) by government, schools, business, even the Girl Scouts which is more that the thieves could get around to using in the next 10 years and some don't see cause for alarm.Stop beating up on those that are at least doing something to offer help to all of us out there. Please verify your sources and get your fact straight. That's why CreditLock has done so well; misinformation. While you're at it, forget about finding more know-it-all old codgers to help the rest of the millions. Just cuz' you've had the flu don't mean you can concoct the vaccine.


What about thieves who steal your medical information or driver's license info or just plain commits crimes in your name? This article covers only financial identity theft. What does one do for the above crimes which seems they would be considered as identity theft as well?

As far as credit monitoring, I can do this one my own, but I can only get for free, my credit report 3 times per year which does not show my credit score. So its possible someone can open account in my name the day after I get a credit report, but I might not know about it til 4 months later when its time to get my next free credit report. Is that scenario possible?

Phoenix Concert Tickets