LifeLock sells a security product designed to alert subscribers to any fraudulent activity by monitoring transactions from bank accounts, credit reports, credit cards, investment accounts, social security numbers, and crime databases. They sell 3 different packages that come with different levels of protection and reimbursement insurance for stolen funds. The lowest level has a stolen reimbursement level of $25,000, next is $100,000, and the highest is $1 Million. They charge a monthly fee from about $10 per month for Standard package, $20 per month for Advantage package, and $30 per month for the highest security level, Ultimate Plus. The more you pay, the wider the monitoring level becomes. You can also add Norton Anti-virus as an option to help protect your electronic devices. It looks to be an attractive service for someone who is concerned about identity theft risks.
Consumer Reports, a reputable product evaluation non-profit organization well-known for the Consumer Reports magazines, reviewed LifeLock’s identity protection product and did not find it to be worth its price. Consumer Reports reviews over 5000 products each year including things like automobiles and electronics. They don’t have any relationship to any other security products and don’t offer any similar service of their own. They simply provided an un-biased review based on what it offers and what other options you have.
Their findings are that you have much cheaper options to protect yourself from identity theft. Many banks and financial institutions are able to reimburse costs caused by credit or debit card fraud which is known to be the most common type of fraud. Many banks and financial institutions also now have security measures that can be activated or deactivated as a part of their services. A credit freeze can also help stop any new accounts from being opened.
Consumer Reports also did point out that LifeLock paid $100 Million to the Federal Trade Commission for violations back in 2015 for services they claimed to provide over the period of 2012 to 2014.
Read the press release here: LifeLock to Pay $100 Million to Consumers to Settle FTC Charges it Violated 2010 Order
LifeLock “failed” to provide the protection they claimed that their customers would receive. They also falsely advertised their level of protections when they said they have the same level of security as financial institutions. Lastly, LifeLock was not keeping up with the order’s recordkeeping requirements. This wasn’t LifeLock’s first run-in with the FTC either. They paid $12 Million for deceptive business practices back in 2010.
“LifeLock didn’t admit or deny the allegations (not uncommon for FTC actions), but regardless, we don’t think the $110 to $330 annual cost is worth it.” – Consumer Reports
After reading a press release such as this one which is a direct discredit of the company’s main product, it is amazing that the company still survived and continues to thrive. This is a testament to the overall fear that the public has towards identity theft and financial fraud. Fraud is a real issue, but LifeLock may not be a real solution. LifeLock is a multiple offender of deceptive business practices and you really don’t know what you get with them.
It doesn’t seem to make much sense to pay this company money when excellent alternatives are available. Experian can provide a credit freeze for free. Once a credit freeze is engaged, no credit reports can be retrieved by any organization attempting to run a credit report on you no matter which credit bureau the request is made from (The three credit bureaus are Experian, Transunion, and Equifax). Also, make sure you are aware of all the free security features that your banks and credit card companies have available.