Phoenix, AZ – It seems that every other day another company issues a
press release stating that they have lost the financial or health
records of thousands or tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands,
even millions of Americans. In many cases, these records contain all
of the information a thief would need to completely assume someone’s
identity. After all, it was all of the information they needed to
confirm the consumer’s identity in the first place.
stories provide the same advice: Get a copy of your credit reports
from each of the three credit bureaus once a year. Check your banking
and credit card statements for unusual transactions. File a police
report. Shred your mail. But credit industry leaders admit that these
efforts are too little, too late.
doesn't protect consumers. It's not going to help and the public is
starting to learn that," says Thomas Chapman, CEO of Equifax, one of
the “big three” credit reporting agencies in the US.
Due to ever stronger consumer
protection laws, Americans are
financially protected from most losses
when it comes to damage to credit reports and credit cards caused by a
thief. It’s the other ways a thief can use someone else’s identity
that can cause serious damage to a victim’s life.
Take, for instance, the
reporter whose twenty-year old checkbook wound up in the wrong hands.
“The thief was bouncing checks all over the place. The problem was, he
was using my name and check fraud is a felony.”
Or the Phoenix man whose
identity was stolen by a man who went on to commit rape and murders
using his name; “Even though he’s sitting in prison, I sometimes feel
like I’m the one serving the life sentence,” says the victim.
Or the single mom in Houston
whose seven year battle with a bank spurred new legislation in
Congress. “Although the new law is good, I’m still dealing with the
consequences,” she said.
“The fact of the matter is
simple.” says Todd Davis, President and CEO of LifeLock, a company
that says it can prevent ID theft in the first place, “Our identities
are so much more than our credit reports. Until now, there really was
no way for anyone to keep their identity safe in the first place.
That’s why we started LifeLock.”
The company says that its
system “locks” a consumer’s identity in such a way that it cannot be
used by anyone except its rightful owner. Industry experts seem to
“I’ve reviewed the LifeLock
system and security. It works,” says Inder Singh, the retired Global
Chief Technology Officer for Visa “To date everything I’ve seen has
been reactive. It’s good to see that a company out there has
developed a system that gives control of one’s identity to the
Using a combination of tactics
that include everything from setting and maintaining alerts forcing
banks to contact people directly before issuing credit to removing
them from pre-approved credit card lists, LifeLock says that their
system is so effective that they back it with a $1 million guarantee.
“Although it’s never happened,
if one of our clients has his or her identity stolen while they’ve got
our service, we’ll solve the problem and reimburse them for any money
they lose. Period,” says Davis.