5 Steps to a DIY LifeLock

“I’m Todd Davis and what I’m about to tell is absolutely true. My social security number is 457-55-5462.”

We’ve all heard the latest commercials featuring the president of Life Lock – a company that claims to have the most advanced identity theft protection anywhere – shouting his personal data from the rooftops. It’s attention-getting marketing for sure.

But how can he really get away with divulging such information? Is he crazy? And is it really worth $120 per year? I decided to take a spin of the LifeLock.com website to learn what their business is all about. As it turns out, every preventive service they offer is relatively easy, convenient and readily available for consumers to do themselves.

LifeLock: First, we ask the credit bureaus to set fraud alerts on your behalf.

This can easily be done on your own with thirty minutes worth of phone calls. Taking it one step further, thirty-five states currently allow consumers to “freeze” their credit reports, effectively blocking all access to credit requests in their name.

LifeLock: Second, unless your circumstances change and you tell us not to, every 90 days or so we ask the credit bureaus to do it again.

That’s awfully nice of them, but this is completely unnecessary, especially if you’ve placed a freeze on your credit report.

LifeLock: Third, we request that your name be removed from pre-approved credit card and junk mail lists and we keep making the requests as they expire.

You can do this yourself in five minutes. Visit OptOutPrescreen.com and follow the simple instructions to opt-out for either five years or permanently. Since personally registering for the site over two years ago, the quantity of mail I receive has dropped by approximately 90%!

LifeLock: Fourth, we order your free credit reports on your behalf from the major credit bureaus and they are sent directly to you. We do this every year. You can also do this yourself for free.

Exactly, so why pay someone else to do it? Visit AnnualCreditReport.com for more info. That’s it.

LifeLock: Fifth, … if your wallet goes missing, just give us a call and a specialist will help you contact each credit card, bank or document issuing company, cancel your affected accounts and complete the paperwork and steps necessary to replace your lost documents.

The key is “help you”. For various legal reasons, it’s not possible for them to actually complete this paperwork on your behalf. The brunt of the work here will ultimately fall upon you, the consumer, no matter who you have helping you.

Finally, the crux of their business is their $1,000,000 guarantee which, to be fair, sounds like solid, fall-back security for their customers. But let’s be honest: if the credit bureaus fail to alert you in the case of fraud or credit is granted on your behalf in spite of your having frozen your credit report – and any of this results in identity theft – you’re going to have one hell of a civil case against a whole host of businesses. I’d argue that’s comfort enough, so save your $120 per year.

Update: Howdy, Get Rich Slowly readers!

19 thoughts on “5 Steps to a DIY LifeLock”

  1. I’m glad you broke this down, I get so tired of hearing this commercial and they make it sound like they are doing someone a favor… when you are actually just paying them to do the work (some of it) for you.

  2. Very useful information here. My wife’s parents both are members of LifeLock, but I’m sure they don’t know the only service they’re providing is saving them about 30 minutes of time for $120 year.

  3. Thanks for posting that optout site. I need to go over and optout to get rid of a few million credit card offers. :)

  4. Good article, Lifelock also says on their website you can do it for free. Couple point worth mentioning though. Though it varies by states from $5 to $20, in most states credit freezes cost $10 at each bureau. Thats $30. Then if you want a creditor to be able to view your file you must lift the freeze and guess what, the credit bureaus charge you another $10. Fraud alerts get you your credit faster and with little hassle. A 1 million dollar guarantee is important because their is no full-proof protection from identity theft. Lifelock only costs $99/year. Lifelock, LoudSiren, TrustedId and other competitors will be offering value added services and products in the future. This is a new industry.

    Also a lawsuit against the credit bureaus, or large creditors will cost you a lot of money and time even if they are in the wrong. I would not consider this as a viable option for anyone when it can be avoided.

  5. That’s awfully nice of them, but this is completely unnecessary, especially if you’ve placed a freeze on your credit report.

    Well, the initial fraud alert only lasts 90 days, right? So that one at least has to be renewed. I’m not sure if you always have to renew after 90 days or not, though.

  6. “LifeLock: First, we ask the credit bureaus to set fraud alerts on your behalf.

    This can easily be done on your own with thirty minutes worth of phone calls. Taking it one step further, thirty-five states currently allow consumers to “freeze” their credit reports, effectively blocking all access to credit requests in their name.”

    So, how do you do this? Just call all the agencies every three months? What information do you need to get them to put a fraud alert on your account?

    Thanks – I didn’t realise this was something I could do!

  7. Hi,

    I good tip for dealing with having lost your wallet is to get every card you own, and photocopy them front and back, and then keep this photocopy in a very safe place. This will instantly give you customer service numbers, and account numbers, and lessen a lot of the scrambling to locate that last card that you never use, but could be in the hands of some Russian mob figure.

  8. SOunds like the 3 giant credit bearues want to keep people in debt in order to constantly sell credit reports and scores this is all for the colloection agencies WAKE up people

  9. Yeah, true you can do it all yourself. This is really paying for a service that you don’t have to worry about. I guess if you don’t have the ten dollars a month then you could do it on your own.

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