Can LifeLock Prevent Identity Theft?

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From my understanding, the answer is No, LifeLock can’t prevent identity theft from happening. Rather, it alerts its customer when a potential threat occurs so the customer can necessary actions at the early stage. In fact, it’s more like an alert system that detects when a service subscriber’s personal information may be compromised. In addition, LifeLock also focuses its service on helping customers whose identities are stolen while under their protection plan. But it won’t pay the victim out right for any damage done to him/her. In stead, LifeLock will hire a third party to help the victim to restore his/her identity. That’s basically how the service works. So don’t expect to get $1 million from LifeLock, even if they offer 1 million dollar guarantee.

LifeLock Products

The main product is LifeLock Identity Alert. It’s a system with a wide range of identity coverage and early notification of potential identity threats by email, postal mail, and/or phone when such threats are detected. Usually, the alert will be sent out when your personal information is being used to apply for, for example, credit cards, wireless services, retail credit, utilities, check orders/reorders, mortgage loans, auto loans, and non-credit related payday loans. In addition, other services also available at LifeLock include:

  • TrueAddress – TrueAddress detect any new address information in address databases nationwide. If it finds the address is changed without authorization, LifeLock will work with you to avoid further damage and restore accurate address information.
  • eRecon – The service scours known criminal websites for the illegal selling or trading of your personal information, including your Social Security number, credit card number,and driver’s license. It will alert you when such illegal activities are found.
  • WalletLock – If you lost your wallet, you can use WalletLock service to have everything in your wallet, such as credit/debit cards, driver’s license, social security card, insurance cards, checkbook, canceled and replaced.

The $1 Million Guarantee

As I mentioned earlier, the $1 million guarantee isn’t that LifeLock will pay you $1 million for the damage should you become a victim of identity theft while using their protection service. Instead, the program “will spend up to $1 million to hire lawyers, investigators, consultants and whatever else it takes to restore your name and help you recover the direct losses from the identity theft.” And what the specialist will also do include:

  • Educate you on the recovery process.
  • Obtain additional information that is necessary to proceed with the recovery process.
  • Give you the pre-fill forms, and step-by-step instructions necessary for your state jurisdiction and type of identity theft.
  • Send over a Power of Attorney form that will allow them to act on your behalf.

Essentially, you will hand over the case to the LifeLock and the specialist it assigned until the issue is resolved, which, as LifeLock claims, usually takes 30 days. However, if you decide to take the matter in your own hands, you will not be compensated for your time and effort under this program, as it explicitly states what the program doesn’t cover

Lost wages or business profits, loss of business or lost opportunities and direct out-of-pocket expenses like postage stamps, gas or mileage to go to local authorities, or any notary public fees, etc. The guarantee does cover the cost for lawyers, investigators, case managers but not any direct losses as a result of the theft. Under the Terms and Conditions, NO money passes directly to our LifeLock members.

Now that you know how LifeLock works, do you think the service, which is at $10 a month, is worth the money?

Personally, I haven’t used any identity prevention or credit monitoring service myself and I am not going to use any from what I can see. It’s not that I don’t believe these services. It’s that I am more like a do-it-myself person who likes to have things in my own control. In stead of having somebody watch out for me, I want to be vigilant on how and where to use personal information and my credit myself. In addition, I also use free services such as free credit report from AnnualCreditReport.com and free credit score from CreditKarma.com and Quizzle.com to monitor my credit score.

However, if you are not confident about handling the task yourself or are too busy to do it, then an identity protection program like LifeLock may help.

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