Lifelock - How Lifelock Compares To Other Services
With identity theft becoming more and more a growing threat for Americans on a daily basis, the identity theft protection business, which was virtually nonexistent 10 years ago, has become a booming industry today. One of the newest companies to enter the arena is a company called LifeLock. The company claims to have the most advanced identity theft protection system available in the market today. The purpose of this article is to provide insight into exactly how the the company's system works and how it compares to other identity theft products available in the market.
The LifeLock system does basically three things that appear to be different from other identity theft protection services. First, it places a fraud alert on your credit files from the three major credit bureaus. A fraud alert basically requires any creditor using that credit file to grant new credit or an extension of credit in your name must contact you by telephone (using the phone number specified in the fraud alert) or take other reasonable measures to verify your identity and confirm that the credit application is not the result of a stolen identity. These fraud alerts are only active for 90 days and then must be renewed, and LlifeLock takes care of this automatically. Second, they will perform the necessary processes to request removal of your name from junk mail lists. Finally, they will go through the necessary procedures to get you removed from pre-approved credit offer lists, which reduces the risk of someone trying to use pre-approved credit card junk mail to steal your identity. Their claim is that you should see a substantial reduction in pre-approved credit card offers and other junk mail with 2 months of your enrollment.
The main difference between the LifeLock protection system and other identity protection services is in their proactive approach to actually prevent the theft from occurring. This is different from most of the protection services available, some of which act as more of an insurance policy to reimburse you for financial losses that you have incur after the fact. Other identity protection services actually monitor your credit report. These credit monitoring services will alert you in the event some sort of change or inquiry to your credit report has occurred. Often these two services are combined to offer what appears on the surface to be a more comprehensive protection package. But the reality is these services still only help you after your credit has been compromised.
Over the last three years (2003-2005) a total of 28.3 million individuals have been victims of identity theft. That's 1 out of every 8 individuals in the United States. Many victims spend thousands and thousands of dollars in out of pocket expenses, spend hundreds of hours of time both at home and at work, and lose thousands of dollars in wages due to time spent away from work. Many suffer the affects for years after the theft occurred. Identity theft can have a devastating effect on a person's life, both financially and emotionally.
The obvious key factor in protecting your identity is minimizing the lead time available to the thieves before detection. Most individuals who have had their identities stolen don't realize it for many months, and typically only after substantial damage has been done to their credit and their finances. And even though credit monitoring services certainly can reduce this lead time, even a one or two day delay can often be enough time for a thief to do substantial financial and credit damage. This is where LifeLock appears to standout above the rest. The focus on upfront prevention versus after the fact monitoring and recovery can give you substantial peace of mind knowing that your credit and your good credit standing that you worked so hard for are secure.