Life Lock & Identity Theft

Mar 29 11:20 2008 Anthoney Grigsby Print This Article

Identity theft is currently the MOST rapid growing crimes WORLDWIDE and today there are companies looking to profit by providing you with more security and a sense of safety.  LifeLock is one of those companies that provides guarantees to their users for a low cost.  But is there cost really low?  Are they worth their price tag? Read on to learn the pros and cons of paying a company for that sense of safety.

Identity theft is currently the MOST rapid growing crimes WORLDWIDE.  We're talking about everything from surprise credit cards opened in your name to that all-famous Nigerian prince looking to send his money to your account (yeah,Guest Posting right!).Even I have been victim to several identity thefts as my bank accounts have been accessed to make several purchases throughout the last few years.  This crime is becoming an art form to the thieves making this activity into hopefully a life-long prosperous career.  They spend their time trying to find new ways to get around the government, credit card bureaus, and even tacky customer support where without the proper care, your information can be given away.Recently, I saw a commercial on CNN Headline News where I saw a very creative marketing gimmick to boast on the quality of their service.  Imagine this, a multi-millionaire displaying his actual social security number on mainstream television and then has the nerve to talk about identity theft.  On one hand, you'll think it's a criminal's dream come true.  But it's not as simple as we think.LifeLock, as stated on their website at LifeLock.com, is the leading industry leader in the rapidly growing field of Identity Theft Protection. And the service they provide to their customers is safety all for only $110/year (annually) or $10/month (monthly).  And on their commercial, CEO Todd Davis, proudly displays his SSN of 457-55-5462, to the public via television and the company's website.  Very clever.  What better way to promote security by making your own identity open for attack!My question is "Are they worth the price tag?"Visit their site and they'll tell you their 5 step process of the services they provide to their customers.Step 1: Ask the credit bureaus to set fraud alerts on your behalf.Step 2: Repeat step 1, every 90 days.Step 3: Request your name to be removed from pre-approved credit card and junk mail lists.Step 4: They'll order your free credit reports and have them sent to you on your behalf.FYI, these steps are things that we can do on our own for absolutely free.  Steps 1 and 2 can be done by picking up the phone and calling the credit bureaus once every quarter.  Step 3 is a bit more time-consuming but can be done by visiting a couple of websites, sending a few opt out letters and there are several websites, addresses, and phone numbers to opt out of junk mail and credit card mailings.  "Google it", you'll find more than enough information to guide you in the right direction.  Step 4 is easily done by the ever-so-popular "AnnualCreditReport.com".So if all of these are being offered absolutely free, why would people like you and I need such a service?  Would you honestly pay for Steps 1 through 4?Well, I did forget to mention Step 5...Step 5: $1,000,000 Guarantee.As stated on their website:"The $1M Guarantee states that if you become a victim of identity theft at anytime while a client, LifeLock will pay a maximum of $1M in professional fees and compensation per lifetime, but this does exclude special, incidental, indirect, or consequential damages, such as lost wages or profits, loss of business, or lost opportunities."Here are our pros and cons.Buy?   

  • Protection from any future identity theft cases.
  • Protection of any money spent in case if victim does incur out-of-pocket-expenses.
  • Research shows that victims are spending more time to resolve identity fraud cases, LifeLock would definitely save you that time.
Don't Buy?
  • With the proper care and attention, you decrease your chances of identity theft considerably.
  • Research shows 68% of identity fraud victims incur no out-of-pocket expenses.
Sounds good, but before you buy, consider some extra steps you can take to fight against identity fraud.Extra Steps To Fight Identity FraudShred Your Documents.  If you receive junk mail, credit card offers, or even getting rid of old unwanted documents, shred them.  I was once advised that if you plan to throw something away that has your address label on it, shred it.  Don't just get the regular shredders, invest into a quality cross cut shredder that's strong enough to cut CD/DVDs, paper clips & staplers.  Those regular shredders aren't good enough.  A thief can puzzle those together.  These days cross cut shredders go for around $50 at Office Depot.Separate Those Shredded Documents.  Some may think this step is a bit extreme, but the harder you make it for criminals the better.  Before disposing of your shredded documents, dump half of your basket into one garbage bag and dump the other half into another.Take Out The Trash In The Morning.  We all know there are criminals out there that would love to go through your trash just like a raccoon loves to rummage around for scraps.  Sometimes we may put sensitive information in the trash at most times allowing criminals to attack us while we sleep.  Rather than taking out the trash the night before Trash Day, take it out that morning, before you leave for work.  Not only does it make it a bit harder on criminals due to time constraints, but there's a better chance from peering eyes of neighbors who may be leaving for work themselves may spot an unwanted intruder.  Which brings me to my next step...Open Your Eyes.  If you notice anything suspicious, call your local authorities.  If you see a stranger or intruder in your, or your neighbor's, trash, mail, or even trespassing on the property, notify your local authorities immediately.Limit What You Hold In Your Wallet.  Do you know how many wallets/purses are lost in America?  Keep as little personal information in your wallet as possible.  Never keep your social security card in your wallet, try to refrain from holding your credit cards in there as well.  I only have my driver's license, insurance information, and a few business cards in mine.  I strongly consider you do the same.SPAM is SCAM.  And I'm referring to E-JunkMail.  There is no Nigerian prince that wants you to hold his fortune until he comes to America.  That is not AOL asking for your password no matter how authentic the E-Mail looks. And that file the mail wants you to download will not give you nude photos of Brittany Spears (well the way she's been acting these days, you'll never know, but still DON”T OPEN IT).  SPAM is SCAM with the only intentions of taking advantage of you.Change Your Bank Account Number.  Some may disagree with this, but I'm speaking on the action I had to take with my account to resolve my identity theft issues.  Wells Fargo would rather compensate you of your money rather than going through a criminal investigation.  My only option was to change my Checking Account Number.  It takes a bit of extra work when it comes to changing information such as Direct Deposit, Linked Accounts, and etc.  but I found it to be very worthful.Password-Protect Your Service.  Call your phone company, electric company, credit card company, or any other of your public service and inquire if they have a password or passcode that can be set on your account that would have to be given in order to make particular changes to your account.In conclusion, there are steps for each of us to take to help prevent identity fraud.  Most of them are free.  Some of them require a bit more time for that extra amount of safety.  And finally some may cost you, such as LifeLock.com.I will not decide for you if LifeLock is a serve you should sign up for yourself.  As seen throughout this article, there are plenty of steps to help prevent identity fraud, but unfortunately, it's impossible to be 100% effective all the time.  LifeLock may be a great alternative cushion if you do become a victim of identity fraud; but then we have to keep in mind, most people do not incur out-of-pocket costs, just a lot of wasted time pleading your case to however many number of businesses and companies.What are some steps you take to help prevent identity fraud you can share with the readers?  Do you think LifeLock is the type of company you, as an individual, would benefit from?

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About Article Author

Anthoney Grigsby
Anthoney Grigsby

Hello, my name is Anthoney Grigsby, owner and creator of HelpMyCashGrow.com. There are a lot of people in this world that are having problems with their finances. I know this, because I used to be one of them. Though I'm still in the process of building my finances, I remember those days where my finances looked horrible. I used to live from paycheck to paycheck and those times were my dark days. What I have done is educated myself on the basics of personal finance, such as budgeting, saving, etc. and I would like to pass on my knowledge to you. Visit my video blog at http://www.helpmycashgrow.com, and get a deep insight and a step-by-step process of learning how to organize and manage your money, and along the process you'll learn how I am following the same steps that I teach.

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