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Thursday, April 17, 2008


DUMBING DOWN ON PRIVACY


LifelLock, the identity protection company whose CEO, Todd Davis, flaunts his Social Security number before the public to prove that his service works, is being sued in a class-action suit. The litigation alleges deceptive marketing, according to Reuters.com, and comes less than two months after the Experian Credit Bureau sued LifeLock for false advertising. See my Feb. 25 post. The New Jersey Pasternack family who filed the suit says LifeLock “misled them about the limited level of identity protection the company provides, and failed to warn them about the potential adverse impact those services could have on their credit profiles.” The complaint adds that Davis’ style of advertising “lulls” potential subscribers into a false sense of security by misrepresenting the degree of protection they will receive. The company charges $10.00 a month for services that consumers can do on their own free of charge. Maybe if we get these people fighting among themselves, Congressional leaders will finally realize that something needs to be done, and now. South Carolina decides to get tough with identity theft by passing a stringent law to better protect its citizens. The state becomes one of only two stipulating that residents can place or lift security freezes on their credit reports at no charge, based on a report in the SC Morning News. Additions to the bill include penalties for credit bureaus who don’t correct incorrect information, and a 15-minute lift on a credit report freeze with the consumer’s pin number. States continue to show the federal government how to do it, but an inept Congress can’t see the breaches for the business lobbyists. In another state, Colorado, Jefferson County DA, Scott Storey, also understands the identity crisis and is doing something about it. Based on a piece in YourHub.com, Storey’s fraud alert team is advising consumers to buy a paper shredder, the diamond cut kind which is supposed to be the best. Colorado ranks eighth in the U.S. for ID theft, which is apparently enough to get this DA to start an awareness campaign that is sorely needed across the country. He shows the county residents just how the crooks do it by exposing methods like fake driver’s licenses or chemically altered checks. A local project director for crime prevention, Cary Johnson, holds seminars on the subject and makes an excellent point. The crooks know our lifestyle habits, like writing a check and putting it in the local neighborhood postal box. He also made the comment that, based on Federal Trade Commission statistics indicating that 5 percent of Americans become victims of identity theft each year, in the next ten years 50 percent of the U.S. population will have succumbed. The junk mail whiners are at it again. They are questioning the motives of a New Hampshire state representative who introduced a bill to establish a statewide do-not-call registry on behalf of those who find unsolicited mail intrusive. I looked up “intrusive” on Dictionary.com and found the following definition: “tending or apt to intrude; coming without invitation or welcome.” If that isn’t the perfect description of junk mail, I don’t know what is. The industry article says junk mailers find it “mystifying” why Rep. Suzi Nord would call their work intrusive. After spending 35 years in the business as a junk mail list/data broker, I find it exasperating that these people cannot figure out that when 98 percent of what they produce goes in the trash, what is it if not junk? The feds are still not addressing the problems that caused data breaches like the 26.5 million records lost by the Veterans Administration. MSNBC says that the General Accounting Office has found that most of the two dozen federal agencies examined still haven’t initiated five federal recommendations to protect private information. Eighteen other agencies had complied “to varying degrees.” This is important to the American public because over 20 percent of all data breaches originate in the government sector. We certainly won’t see much shoring up of this issue by the Bush administration, and it is beginning to look like the Democrats have put consumerism on the back burner, perhaps for the upcoming election. It seems to me that the timing is perfect for an Independent candidate to step in and show that he or she will put consumers out front again. Go to Committee for a Unified Independent Party (CUIP) for more on the Independent movement. Any suggestions for candidates?

3 comments:

I Love IRS said...

Like Ben Franklin said, "they who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security,
deserve neither liberty nor security. Here's an interesting book,
http://www.bostonteapartybook.com

credit savvy said...

i have that interesting book and i have found to be very informative
credit repair

Kit said...

Why would you pay for an identity theft protection service like LifeLock? There are a few things you can do each month to keep an eye on your credit and identity such as regular credit checks. You should also invest in a good shredder and get in the habit of shredding anything with your name on it.