It’s not polite to take joy in the troubles of others but I can’t help gloating a little bit today. Lifelock agreed to pay $12 million to its customers to settle a suit with the Federal Trade Commission and 35 states for making “exaggerated claims about its identity theft services”.

If you remember, Lifelock’s CEO posted his real Social Security Number on billboards and buses around the country His identity was subsequently stolen but that didn’t stop the company from continuing to advertise that its services would “prevent identity theft”. The company promised far more than any company could ever really deliver. Especially since the primary ‘defense’ that they put in place for their customers was a credit alert, something which any consumer can arrange him/herself for free. Those month charges added up to a lot of money for a couple of stamps and a note on your calendar.

In the settlement, the company admitted no wrongdoing but they’ve said that they have “changed their business model”.

If you haven’t checked your credit report lately, you should. Remember that you’re entitled to a free copy every 12 months (and go to the legitimate site, not the scam site with “free” in the domain name). If you think you’re at special risk of ID theft, consider implementing a credit alert or even a credit freeze. Don’t forget to check the credit reports of at-risk family members (children and dependent elders) while you’re there.

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