Is LifeLock Selling a Lie?
Back in September, I wrote about Lifelock and how their advertising is brilliant.
But ever since then, I’ve had my doubts about the company. And my research (which has taken quite some time) has turned up some interesting details.
Let me back up for a second. The whole reason I started doubting the company’s business practices in the first place was because of some comments left on my old copywriting blog.
A commenter dubbed ID Thief wrote, “Oh, and that SS number is not really issued to a Todd Davis. Its a phony number set up with the DOJ to try to catch stupid people. Five minutes online could have told you that.”
Then an anonymous commenter wrote: “Hello, my name is Butthead and my social security number is [457-55-5462]. Looks real enough? Any real businessman knows to NEVER use your own product… and that a lie works as easy as the truth.”
These comments alone caused me some concern over Lifelock’s advertising, but then the Long Island Sleuth showed up and wrote this:
Powerful ad, yes. Truthful, very doubtful.
For fifteen years I was a criminal investigator for NY State and we were trained in spotting phony Social Security numbers as the majority of our fraud investigations were in Unemployment Insurance.
Now, unless the Social Security people have changed the rules since I was employed in the field, this SS # does not exist in their system. Their rules are that you cannot have an odd number in the middle two numbers unless the first digit is zero, ergo, having the middle numbers of his SS # as 55 is impossible.
If that is still true, then the FTC ought to go after this guy for false advertising. Besides, I don’t care how secure his system is, no one in his right mind would broadcast his real SS# to the world.
So I couldn’t help myself. I had to discover whether Todd Davis’s SSN (as advertised) was real or not.
Now, I did find a few sources confirming that the two middle digits of a SSN must be even numbers, but my SSN uses one even and one odd number (and the first of the two numbers isn’t zero). So this rule may have been true in the past, but doesn’t seem to be true today.
Nevertheless, Joe R. claims the Todd Davis SSN is fake. He writes on Yahoo Answers:
I work for a company and can run a “social search,” and that social belongs to several different people, not one of them Todd Davis. In essence, the social is fake and several people have been reported using it. It makes me question LifeLock as a company.
Again, I wouldn’t bank on this source 100%, but it certainly makes me wonder.
But it gets worse. Because earlier this year, Experian filed a lawsuit against LifeLock. The Union (a Nevada news source) writes:
Lifelock has at least one major detractor. Credit reporting agency Experian has filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, accusing Lifelock of fraud, unfair business practices and violations of federal law.
Furthermore, Robert Maynard, Jr., one of Lifelock’s founding partners, has filed bankruptcy multiple times, committed identity theft against his own father, and been caught in lies about his past. You can verify these claims in this excellent article by Phoenix New Times reporter Ray Stern:
Although Maynard, Jr., supposedly resigned from Lifelock a year ago amidst this controversy, he is still a part-owner in the company and still handles the marketing. Wired Magazine reports:
[Todd] Davis acknowledged that Maynard, Jr., still owns 10 percent equity in LifeLock and that he is launching a marketing company. When asked if Maynard will work as a contractor for LifeLock doing the same marketing work he was until now doing as a staff member, Davis said yes.
Hmmm… So is LifeLock.com advertising a fake SSN or not? Better yet, should the company be trusted?
After doing a lot of digging, I’d say Lifelock’s business practices are, at best, suspect. Possibly even outright deceptive.
What’s your opinion? If you have any more evidence, would you mind leaving a comment below? Thanks.
-Ryan M. Healy