(20somethingfinance, Published 12/30/2013)
You may know LifeLock CEO, Todd Davis’s social security number, 457-55-5462. Most people have seen it, as Lifelock has plastered it everywhere as a symbol of their identity theft protection service.
But before signing on to Lifelock, realize that there are plenty of solid ways to protect yourself from identity theft that are absolutely, 100% free and legit. In many ways these free identity protection measures go above and beyond the paid services, such as Lifelock, that are out there. Let’s take a look at what Lifelock will do for you (for $10 per month), and how you can achieve the same results for free on your own. But if you’re forgetful and lazy like me, you might find Lifelock to be exactly what you need.
Benefit Claim #1
First, we ask the credit bureaus to set free fraud alerts on your behalf. Usually, this is done through our automated systems and the alerts are set within an hour. From time to time there may be a hitch and we have to do the first one manually, usually because they have a different address on file for you. If this happens, we’ll tell you right away and do what needs to be done to get the alerts set. (In case you’re wondering, we don’t charge anything more for this and our Total Service Guarantee is still in effect from day one.)
Free Option #1: Go to any of the three credit bureaus and request this on your own. You only have to do this with one bureau and they will notify the rest. And guess what? No ‘hitches’. Here’s the link to Experian’s fraud alert.
Benefit Claim #2
Second, unless your circumstances change and you tell us not to, every 90 days or so we ask the credit bureaus to do it again. You can do this for free if you’d prefer, but we make sure it gets done and that it gets done right. That’s where the oil change analogy we were talking about kicks in.
Free Option #2: In this case, the ‘oil change’ is putting four dates on your yearly calendar to renew after 90 days.
Benefit Claim #3
Third, we request that your name be removed from pre-approved credit card and junk mail lists and we keep making the requests as they expire. Statistics show that this is one of the many ways that thieves hijack identities. Plus, all that mail is just so irritating. Many of our members tell us that this alone is worth the price. If you are a do-it-yourselfer, you can do this for free, but why not let us do it for you?
Free Option #3: Do you see the recurring theme in even their own benefits – ‘you can do this for free’? In this case, you can do this for free at optoutprescreen.com.
Benefit Claim #4
Fourth, we order your free credit reports on your behalf from the major credit bureaus and they are sent directly to you. We do this every year. You can also do this yourself for free.
Free Option #4: You can do this on your own for free at annualcreditreport.com. See my post on how to take advantage of this – ‘Smart Planning will get you 3 Free Credit Reports Per Year’.
Benefit Claim #5
Fifth, hassling with lost or stolen wallets is no longer a problem with WalletLock. If ever your wallet goes missing, just give us a call – anytime, anywhere – and a WalletLock specialist will help you contact each credit card, bank or document issuing company, cancel your affected accounts and complete the paperwork and steps necessary to replace your lost documents*, including your credit/debit cards, driver’s license, social security card, insurance cards, checkbook – even travelers checks – at no additional cost.
Free Option #5: It’s not really clear how much work the Lifelock Walletlock ‘specialist’ will do, but again, these are all things you can do on your own with a few phone calls. The disclaimer goes on to state that they don’t cover document fees, cash, or anything else.
Benefit Claim #6
Last, but certainly not least: If your Identity is stolen while you are a member of LifeLock, we’re going to do whatever it takes to recover your good name. If you need lawyers, we’re going to hire the best we can find. If you need investigators, accountants, case managers, whatever, they’re yours. If you lose money as a result of the theft, we’re going to give it back to you.
We will do whatever it takes to help you recover your good name and we will spend up to $1,000,000 to do it.
We don’t think you will see a guarantee like this anywhere else from any other company. If you do, let us know because we’d like to do business with them. There isn’t much fine print in our Guarantee. To see the details, click here.
If you have a reason to think that you will become a victim of Identity Theft, we can help you stop looking over your shoulder, because we’ve got your back.
Lifelock then goes on to claim, that as part of their coverage:
- A dedicated resolution specialist to serve as your single point of contact
- Case assessment by your resolution specialist and a dedicated third-party recovery expert in some cases
- A full explanation of your rights and what to expect during recovery
- Step-by-step instructions for how to handle actions required for your recovery, such as filing police reports
- A follow-up call after your matter has been resolved to make sure your identity has been recovered to your full satisfaction
It’s hard to determine how much this is worth and how they back up the $1M guarantee.
The bottom line is that Lifelock is not a scam, it’s just that you can do a lot of what they do for free. Lifelock might be worth it if you have the attitude “well, I could do this stuff for free, but I don’t want the hassle, and I’ll probably forget, so I’ll just let someone else handle it for a small price”. If you’re interested in checking out Lifelock – click here for more details.