Attorney General Bill McCollum News Release
March 9, 2010
Media Contact: Jenn Meale
Phone: (850) 245-0150
Florida Joins FTC, 35 States in Agreement with LifeLock Over Advertising Practices
~ Identity theft protection provider agrees to $11 million in restitution for consumers ~
TALLAHASSEE, FL – Attorney General Bill McCollum today announced that his office has joined the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and 34 states in a settlement agreement reached with a major identity theft prevention company. The agreement with LifeLock, Inc. resolves an investigation into the company’s allegedly misleading advertising practices and provides $11 million for consumer restitution. The announcement comes during National Consumer Protection Week, a cooperative effort to highlight consumer education across the nation and remind citizens to protect themselves from fraud.
"Identity theft is a substantial problem, and those in the business of trying to prevent it should strive to market their services in an accurate manner," said Attorney General Bill McCollum. "Overstated claims that give consumers a false sense of security may cause more harm than good."
LifeLock sells identity theft services which past advertisements claimed were "guaranteed" to protect consumers’ personal information and prevent criminals from using it to open accounts in consumers’ names. Some ads even included CEO Todd Davis’ social security number in an effort to demonstrate Davis’ confidence in the services offered. The Attorney General’s Office began investigating LifeLock over allegations the company made a range of deceptive claims which led consumers to believe its services were a "proven solution" that would protect against all types of identity theft. The settlement also resolves allegations the company misrepresented the nature of specific services it provided to protect or alert consumers when their personal information had been compromised.
Under the agreement, LifeLock is prohibited from overstating the risk of identity theft to consumers, including whether a particular consumer has become or is likely to become a victim. LifeLock is also prohibited from misrepresenting that its services can protect against or eliminate the risk of identity theft or that it will constantly monitor activity on each of its customers’ consumer reports. LifeLock will pay $11 million in restitution to consumers and $1 million to cover the costs of the states’ investigation. The FTC and participating attorneys general will jointly send letters to eligible consumers, notifying them of the agreement and how they can file reimbursement claims.
Identity theft was one of the top complaints received by the Attorney General’s Office this past year, and Florida had the highest number of complaints of any state last year. Federal and state laws provide consumers with a variety of tools to help protect themselves against identity theft, and citizens need to be vigilant in protecting themselves. Consumers who have a reasonable suspicion that they are or are about to become victims of identity theft can place free fraud alerts on their credit reports by contacting one of the three major credit reporting agencies. Consumers can also obtain free copies of their credit reports to review their own credit histories and identify errors and inaccuracies, such as unauthorized accounts, as consumers are best-positioned to monitor their own bank accounts and credit card statements for unauthorized withdrawals or charges. The free credit report is only available at https://www.annualcreditreport.com or by calling 1-877-322-8228.
The Attorney General also offered the following additional tips to help protect consumers' identity from being stolen:
- Protect your social security number by not giving it out to others unless absolutely necessary;
- Carefully dispose of unwanted mail;
- Use caution when sharing information on the internet including email solicitations that ask for personal identification information; and
- Store hard copies of personal identification such as birth certificates and social security cards in secure places.
Additional information is online at http://myfloridalegal.com/identitytheft.
Consumers who wish to file a complaint may do so by calling the Attorney General’s fraud hotline at 1-866-9-NO-SCAM (1-866-966-7226) or by filing a complaint online at http://myfloridalegal.com. Additional information about National Consumer Protection Week is available at http://www.consumer.gov/ncpw.