The LifeLock Service
I recently inquired about the lifelock service for protecting my identity. Although the service is not meant to resolve all identity theft related issues, based on my initial inquiries, I think it’s an intelligent service that automates certain consumer rights published in the Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act or FACTA law to protect against identity fraud on a limited basis. I have previously expressed that not one service or product in the market resolves all identity theft issues but rather a careful use of a combination of services along with the way we manage our identity components can effectively address the issue of identity theft and fraud.
Certain provision of FACTA allows a person to place an initial fraud alert on the credit report without an identity theft police report. Just a mere suspicion that an identity theft risk exists is sufficient to allow a person to request inclusion of a fraud alert on their credit reports. This alert requires the credit grantors to validate the identity of the credit requestor by calling them. Thus, it is extremely important for people who subscribe for the Lifelock service or any other similar service for placing fraud alerts on their credit reports to very carefully examine the phone number listed on their credit reports. In order to validate a person’s identity, the creditors will call the person’s phone number listed on the credit report to ask if they recently applied for a new loan or credit line increase. In other words, the published phone number is the identity component that validates the person.
The initial fraud alert is good for 90 days and must be renewed thereafter every 90 days. Lifelock automates the fraud alert placement and renewal process as long as subscribers to the service continue to pay the service dues either monthly or annually.
Again, it’s really important to understand that the service is not a magic bullet for resolving all identity theft issues. In order to better understand the benefits of this service, below is a list of the Lifelock service benefits after the fraud alert is placed with the three major credit reporting agencies. The service prevents unauthorized:
1- Establishment of new bank accounts or credit line,
2- Change of address on the credit reports,
3- Request for credit line increase,
4- Opening of a checking account,
5- Sign-up for insurance services, and
6- Registration for utilities services
As you can see, the service does not protect individuals from unauthorized usage of their existing identity components such as unauthorized credit card transactions. However, it’s a good start in the right direction for protecting identities.
I must also raise the issue that not all creditors will call people to validate their identities even with a fraud alert placed on the credit report. One of the biggest problems in the business world is that companies and people sometime bypass or ignore the controls placed to manage the risks and unfortunately controls such as fraud alerts placed to address the identity protection risks are not immune to such bypass.
I had been granted a free subscription to the Lifelock service to review its registration process and benefits. I registered for the service and promptly received various communications from Lifelock and credit reporting agencies.
You can read my review of the Lifelock service by clicking the banner below to learn about my observations.
Important note – Individuals do not need to sign up with any service to place fraud alerts and can easily do it themselves by contacting the credit reporting agencies. You also don’t need to sign up with any service to receive your free annual credit report from each of the three credit bureaus. Just visit the free credit report page and learn about how you can get your free credit report copy. However, some companies provide services that automate the renewal or credit report monitoring processes for a fee. The automation of monitoring and renewal is what I like about these services for effective identity protection because our busy lives may sometimes disrupt our identity protection efforts.
Read the full LifeLock service review..