By now you’ve seen the commercial in which Todd Davis gives you his Social Security number. He’s one of the founders of LifeLock, a company that offers to protect you from identity theft for a monthly fee of about $10. A New York Times article noted that while the company has lined up more than 1 million customers, it has also attracted the scrutiny of the legal community. One state has accused LifeLock of selling insurance without proper certification, and class-action lawyers have filed lawsuits charging deceptive business practices and fraudulent advertising. The article noted that one service offered by the company, placing a 90-day fraud alert with the three main credit bureaus, is something everyone can do on their own for free.
I’m not a fan of paying for credit monitoring or identity theft insurance. While the pain of becoming a victim of identity theft, especially when your Social Security number is used to open new accounts in your name, is significant, the chances of becoming a victim are very small. And there are relatively simple steps we can all take to protect ourselves. For a good summary of those steps, take the online test mentioned in the New York Times article.