Archive for October, 2008

Compare LifeLock protection to credit monitoring

Friday, October 31st, 2008

Consumers want to prevent becoming identity theft victims. They want comprehensive protection of their finances, their personal information and their good names, but they don’t get that with credit monitoring.

Here’s how credit monitoring works: The service provider watches action on the customer’s credit cards and credit report. If they see unusual activity–a sudden rash of new credit cards or new credit card charges in New Jersey for a customer in New Mexico—they contact the customer to let them know someone is New Jersey has stolen their identity.

Credit monitoring services sound the alarm after the thief has obtained and used the customer’s credit information.

At LifeLock, they know all about how identity thieves work, and they employ a comprehensive variety of tools to stop them.

  • Fraud alerts: Once the fraud alert is in place, the consumer is notified anytime their information is used to obtain new credit.
  • Cutting off the types of mail thieves look for: LifeLock will work with marketing associations to take the customer’s name off their lists. No more junk mail, and no more pre-approved credit offers for thieves to steal.
  • WalletLock™: Lost and stolen wallets are still the most common source of information for thieves. When it happens to LifeLock customers, Wallet Lock™ helps them cancel and replace all official documents, credit cards and checks before thieves can use them.
  • TrueAddress™: A common ploy used by thieves is the diversion of mail to a new address. If an address change is ever submitted for a customer’s address, the customer will be notified immediately.
  • eRecon™: Identity thieves buy, sell and trade their victims’ information on the Internet. eRecon monitors all known websites used for those transactions. If a customer’s name, birth date, address, SSN, driver’s license or account numbers are detected, the customer is immediately notified, and a customer service representative helps them cancel and replace documents and works with law enforcement to catch the criminals and close down the website.

LifeLock protection is comprehensive, complete and reliable. Credit monitoring is incomplete, ineffective and unreliable.

Visit LifeLock.com to learn more about their many innovative and exclusive identity theft protection tools. If you decide you’re ready for complete protection of your credit and your good name, enroll using the LifeLock promotional code Defense and get the lowest price available.

LifeLock spokesman Zach Friesen advocates for child ID theft education

Thursday, October 30th, 2008

Consumer advocates want every school child to learn about preventing identity theft. And, while the uninitiated might think that’s a little extreme, Zach Friesen isn’t one of them.

Friesen was 17 when he discovered someone had used his identity to buy a $40,000 houseboat. Friesen was 7 years old and just mastering a two-wheeler when the purchase was made. Neither he nor his mother know how his personal information was obtained. They suspect it might have originated with a visit to the pediatrician’s office and a request to supply the boy’s Social Security number.

The identity theft was brought to light when Friesen was turned down for a student loan and a job because of his disastrous credit history. He spent the next 10 years working to clear up errors in his financial records and credit report. He is now a spokesman for LifeLock identity theft protection, and tells his story every chance he gets.

The recent push for identity theft education comes on the heels of a first-ever report on child identity theft. According to the research conducted by Javelin Strategy and Research, one in five children – that’s at least one child in every classroom — is already an identity theft victim, though most probably won’t learn of their victimization until they’re much older.

Intern uses toy drive donor information for identity theft

Wednesday, October 29th, 2008

Call her the evil Christmas elf. Call her the grinch who stole toy-drive donors’ financial information. Call her the most damaging political intern since Monica Lewinsky. Call her whatever you want, but for heaven’s sake, call Phelicia Williams’ references before you give her a job.

Williams’ job responsibilities as an intern in Oakland, Cal. Mayor Ron Dellums’ office included helping with the mayor’s Holiday Toy Drive. Everybody loves a toy drive at Christmas time. And people especially love to donate to a toy drive when it’s one of their boss’s pet projects. That’s how Williams’ gained access to more than 100 personal checks police found photocopies of when they searched her apartment. And who wrote those checks? Oakland police officers making donations to their boss’s Christmas Toy Drive.

While the cops’ photocopied checks might end up being Williams’ biggest problem, they certainly aren’t the first.

It started with a misdemeanor forgery conviction that earned her three years of probation. She was still on probation for that charge when she began working for Pamela Price, an Oakland attorney.

Her job with Price gave her access to a company credit card that Price says Williams used to make $10,000 in purchases that included lingerie, a cell phone and tickets to sporting events—definitely not office-related expenses.

It was while police were searching Williams’ apartment for evidence related to that accusation that they came across the photocopied checks.

What you’ll find at LifeLock.com

Tuesday, October 28th, 2008

Welcome to the LifeLock home page. This is where you’ll meet LifeLock members who’ll tell you why they chose LifeLock to help them protect themselves from identity theft. They’ve all been victims of identity theft in the past, even the former police chief.

On the left side of the home page, you’ll see links to some TV interviews with CEO Todd Davis, and with Zach, a LifeLock customer whose identity was stolen when he was only seven.

Be sure to check out the center panel that lets you know you’re dealing with a Better Business Bureau accredited business.

When you’re done with all the information on the home page, click the blue tab at the top of the page, “How LifeLock Works.” This is probably the most important page on the website. This is where you’ll learn more about LifeLock’s comprehensive services and their exclusive identity protection tools. If you need more information, there’s a long list of frequently asked questions on the left side of the page. Just click on any one of them for more info. (more…)

Federal Task Force report: ID theft convictions up, still very low

Monday, October 27th, 2008

The good news: identity theft convictions in 2007 increased by 26% over the 2006 total convictions. The bad news: that’s only 1,943 convictions out of the 1.6 million identity theft complaints in the Federal Trade Commission’s files. There were 1,534 convictions in 2006.

The numbers come from a 70-page report released by the Identity Theft Task Force established in May 2006 by President Bush. It is chaired by the US Attorney General and the FTC Chair. (more…)

For a lot of ID theft victims, financial loss is the least of their problems

Friday, October 24th, 2008

We’ve all heard – or experienced – the horror stories of identity thieves who use stolen identities to open credit card accounts or buy cars, boats and houses. But, it could be worse. Take Malcolm Byrd’s story for instance: it’s the stuff Coen brothers’ movies are made of.

It starts with a guy in Wisconsin, Malcolm Byrd, reading a story in the local newspaper that details his arrest of the previous night. What the …? He goes to the police department. They explain that some guy got arrested for coke possession with intent to sell and gave his name as Malcolm Byrd.  By the time the “real” Malcolm Byrd read about the arrest, the impostor had bonded out of jail and was released.

Next, Malcolm goes to the paper. Apologies are made. A retraction is run. It was a strange, strange day for our hero, but it’s all been cleared up, right? Of course not. If it were all cleared up, it wouldn’t be worthy of the Coen brothers. (more…)

Bank vice president steals customers’ identities

Thursday, October 23rd, 2008

Americans have benefited from widespread identity theft prevention education campaigns. We know better than to give out our personal and financial information over the phone. We’re getting a lot better at spotting phishing e-mails. We’re more careful about giving out our Social Security numbers.

But it’s not always strangers who commit ID theft; in 26% percent of identity theft cases, someone known to the victims — family members, neighbors or employees — commits the crime.

But how do we protect ourselves from bank employees? There have been several cases recently where bank officers used their customers’ personal and financial information to commit identity theft crimes.

Such is the case of George Clayton, a former bank vice president of commercial lending from Manheim, Pa. Clayton took out four loans totaling $712,000 using the identities of three bank customers. His crimes took place between January 2006 and June 2008. One of the customers Clayton victimized finally discovered the loan and contacted the bank. (more…)

Child Identity Theft

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008

Your four-year-old might be too young to drive a car, but that doesn’t mean he never bought one. Unfortunately, now his credit is so bad, even long after he is old enough to drive a car, he won’t be able to buy another one.

That’s the beauty of child identity theft; a thief can use a child’s identity for years before anyone notices there’s a problem, and by that time, the thief is gone and the trail is cold. The Federal Trade Commission estimates there are 400,000 victims of child identity theft every year. Other sources claim there are many more victims whose cases just haven’t come to light yet.

How could it happen?

Think of how many times you’ve been asked for, and given, your child’s Social Security number: the pediatrician’s office, the day care center, the emergency room, his elementary, junior high and high school, athletic coordinators, after-school programs…any of them could have failed to protect your child’s personal information. Or an employee in an office somewhere could have written it down and sold it.

Your child could have given it out online or over the phone.

Sadly, child identity theft is usually perpetrated by a parent or another member of the child’s family. Parents who get in a financial jam take out credit cards in their kids’ names to make ends meet. Thinking they’ll be able to pay the money back before the child needs it, their identity theft can be rationalized as a victimless crime.

The warning signs

Credit card offers in the mail may seem like common fare to you, but if your child starts receiving them, it could mean trouble. Credit card offers are made to people who already use credit; if your youngster is being offered a credit card, it probably means there’s a credit account in his name, somewhere.

Worse yet, bill collectors may start dunning your child by mail or phone. Don’t assume it’s a simple clerical error. Ask that they send you all pertinent documentation.

Request your child’s credit report. The only acceptable response is “no record exists.” Any other response means somebody has used your child’s identity to obtain credit.

How can you prevent child identity theft?

Don’t give out your child’s Social Security number just because someone asks for it; always ask if it’s essential. If it is required information, ask how the agency or company that’s using it will protect if.

Don’t carry Social Security cards in your wallet—yours or your child’s.

Don’t let your child have or give out his Social Security number until he’s old enough to understand how important it is. Until that time, if he asks for it, find out who needs it and why, and then contact them yourself.

Request your child’s credit report at least once a year.

LifeLock can protect your identity

Tuesday, October 21st, 2008

Identity theft can strike anyone, anywhere at anytime. And the culprit is someone known by the victim in about 26% of all cases. A prime example is a recent case from Dubuque, Iowa.

An employee at Bath and Body Works was arrested this week and admitted to committing identity theft. Shacara Hudson, 21, used a fellow employee’s personnel file to obtain all the information she needed to open a new credit card account in her coworker’s name. Before she was done, she had charged $23,795 on the account.

When you’re considering your risk for identity theft, you have to consider the people you work with as potential threats to your security. How well do you know them? How many of them have access to your personnel file? How many of them have access to your purse or laptop?

And as if the people who are part of our everyday lives aren’t enough to worry about, there are all the corporate and government data breaches that have exposed hundreds of millions of personal and financial records.

There are steps you can take to protect your identity and your finances – shred your mail, be wary of phone calls and e-mails from strangers – but for real identity theft protection, you need the comprehensive services of LifeLock. (more…)

Enroll in LifeLock during National Protect Your Identity Week

Monday, October 20th, 2008

It’s National Protect Your Identity Week, and if you haven’t done it already, this is the perfect time to enroll with Life Lock.

Last year, 8.4 million Americans became victims of identity theft. In less than four years, more that 250 million personal and financial records have been lost, stolen or exposed in data breaches. And, according to the Identity Theft Resource Center,

  • Someone known by the victim perpetrates 30% of identity theft cases.
  • Lost and stolen wallets are still one of the most common causes of identity theft
  • 82% of the ITRC survey respondents discovered the crime through adverse action (bill collector, missing bank funds, job or credit denial, contact by law enforcement)
  • Existing account ID theft costs victims an average of $550.39, and took an average of 116 hours to resolve
  • New account ID theft costs victims an average of $1,865.27, and took an average of 158 hours to resolve

When you enroll with LifeLock, you’ll be covered by their comprehensive ID theft protection that makes them the service of choice for close to 1.5 million Americans. Their service includes:

  • Fraud alerts
  • Credit reports
  • Reduction in pre-approved credit card offers and junk mail
  • Removing your name from phone solicitors’ lists
  • LifeLock exclusives WalletLock™, TrueAddress™ and eRecon™
  • $1 million total service guarantee

Don’t wait another day. Visit LifeLock.com to learn more about these Life Lock services, and start protecting your identity today. For the very best value use the LifeLock discount code Defense.