Identity theft-protection company Lifelock is in the news this morning. The company, headed by CEO Todd Davis, is known for its challenge ad (reproduced below) which has been running for a couple of years. The ad trumpets Davis's social security number, and assures customers that their privacy will be protected.
Now it turns out that Lifelock's assurances and guarantees were bogus:
Todd Davis has dared criminals for two years to try stealing his identity: Ads for his fraud-prevention company, LifeLock, even offer his Social Security number next to his smiling mug.
Now, Lifelock customers in Maryland, New Jersey and West Virginia are suing Davis, claiming his service didn't work as promised and he knew it wouldn't, because the service had failed even him.
Attorney David Paris said he found records of other people applying for or receiving driver's licenses at least 20 times using Davis' Social Security number, though some of the applications may have been rejected because data in them didn't match what the Social Security Administration had on file.
Davis acknowledged in an interview with The Associated Press that his stunt has led to at least 87 instances in which people have tried to steal his identity, and one succeeded: a guy in Texas who duped an online payday loan operation last year into giving him $500 using Davis' Social Security number.
Paris said the fact Davis' records were compromised at all supports the claim that Tempe, Ariz.-based LifeLock doesn't provide the comprehensive protection its advertisements say it does.
"It's further evidence of the ineffectiveness of the services that LifeLock advertises," said Paris, who is lead attorney on the three new lawsuits, the latest of which was filed this month.
Davis learned about the fraud in Texas when the payday-loan outfit called to collect on the loan, he said. He didn't get an alert beforehand because the company didn't go through one of the three major credit bureaus before approving the transaction.
Davis said it's possible driver's licenses have been issued to other people in his name because of the widespread availability of his personal information -- and because of what he described as the flimsy mechanisms in place to report that kind of fraud.
Flimsy mechanisms indeed. Lifelock's service would appear to fall under that same category.
Fans of low integrity politicians will no doubt remember that GOP presidential candidate Fred Thompson was in the news about a year ago, under fire at that time from the Democratic National Committee for shilling for Lifelock in radio ads despite Lifelock's previous less-than-stellar track record.
All-but-declared GOP presidential candidate Fred Thompson is shilling for a company whose co-founder was accused of secretly tapping into people's bank accounts.
The ex-"Law & Order" actor is airing a one-minute radio spot around the country for LifeLock, an identity-protection company co-founded by Robert Maynard.
"It's part of his contract at ABC Radio Networks. Like the other on-air talent, they are contractually obligated to do some commercials," said Thompson spokesman Mark Corallo.
As first reported in the Los Angeles Times, the Federal Trade Commission alleged in 1996 that Maynard got account numbers from consumers by peddling himself as a credit-repair expert who would clean up their credit reports.
Maynard settled the case without admitting to the charge, though he did agree to get out of the credit-fixing business.
ABC Radio Networks and Thompson's spokesman said LifeLock is a legitimate company and he will continue to promote it. Maynard resigned last month as LifeLock's marketing director when his past was revealed, but he remains a consultant and shareholder.
"The company seems to be fine. It's currently giving away its services to soldiers and vets," said Corallo.[...]
Democrats jumped all over Thompson when they learned about the commercial.
"He's lobbying for the powerful special interests ... serving as the pitchman for a company whose owner is accused of fraud," said Democratic National Committee spokeswoman Stacie Paxton. "It's pretty clear that Fred Thompson stands for what's best for him and his special interest friends, not the American people," she added.
So far, the LifeLock ad is the only spot Thompson has done for ABC Radio Networks. The former Tennessee senator does "The Fred Thompson Report" and is a stand-in for Paul Harvey.
No doubt Thompson associated himself with Lifelock, despite their shady history, because they were giving away the service to soldiers and veterans. He was edging towards his Republican nomination run, and conservatives just get all misty-eyed when someone throws their arm around a vet.
And no doubt service members' families and supporters and others bought Lifelock's services as a result of Thompson's support for the company.
Thompson didn't have to do those radio ads, especially after questions were raised about the propriety of a presidential candidate shilling for crooks.... but keep in mind that President Nixon once referred to Fred Thompson as "dumb as hell," and it's obvious that Thompson used poor judgment in associating himself with Lifelock.
Thompson scored points among Republicans for associating himself with Lifelock's efforts to support soldiers and vets, so it's fitting that Thompson would be shamed for that association when further evidence of impropriety is revealed.
And if Thompson is in fact "as dumb as hell" what does that make Thompson's supporters who were chomping at the bit to get this clown into the White House?
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