LifeLock Scam Artists to Pay Record $113 Million Settlement to Get Feds Off Their Back
As has been widely reported today, so-called “identity protection company” LifeLock has agreed to a $113 million settlement with the Federal Trade Commission. The controversial company had been accused of violating the terms of a 2010 agreement with the FTC:
LifeLock was given a slap on the wrist and a $12 million fine in 2010 for falsely advertising its identity theft protection services. The company had advertised that for $10 a month, it would guarantee protection against identity theft, but the FTC charged that LifeLock merely put fraud alerts on its customers’ credit files, which did not protect against identity theft from existing accounts, nor did it prevent fraudsters from using a person’s ID to get medical care or to apply for jobs. LifeLock’s CEO, Todd Davis, famously advertised his company’s services by displaying his social security number in ads. That act of hubris reportedly resulted in Davis’ identity being stolen 13 times.
So what is the problem now?
This time around, LifeLock’s alleged misdeeds include failing to establish a system to protect all the information that LifeLock gathered, falsely advertising that the company protected its data as closely as financial institutions must protect their information, falsely advertising that LifeLock customers would receive alerts the moment that the company noticed any suspected fraud, and failing to follow the record-keeping rules that the FTC imposed on the company in 2010.
The agreement reached today, said to be a record price to enforce a previously agreed upon settlement with the FTC, certainly represents an escalation of matters. Even so:
According to SEC filings, LifeLock generated $476 million in revenue in 2014, “an increase of $106.4 million from $369.7 million in 2013,” the company wrote.
At the end of the day, paying the price for false advertising represents little more than the cost of doing business for LifeLock.
They will continue to separate gullible idiots from $9 to $27 each and every month for a service that is almost completely worthless. They will continue to have defenders in the corridors of power, thanks to political connections such as former Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge on their Board of Directors. They will continue to be a cog in the wingnut welfare machine by pumping millions of dollars into advertising on Rush Limbaugh’s daily hate radio fest. Indeed, they were the only tech-related sponsor that didn’t abandon Limbaugh in 2012 after he called law student Sandra Fluke a “slut”.
Record settlement or no, caveat emptor !