Advertising Fail: CEO Who Publicized His SSN Gets His Identity Stolen

By Joseph Calamia | May 19, 2010 4:51 pm

creditcardsGap cards and cell phones and, quite possibly, kittens. These are a few of Todd Davis’s favorite things.

Actually, not. These are the favorite things of the thirteen criminals who stole Davis’s identity and used it to apply for credit cards and cell phone accounts. Davis’s true delight is plastering billboards with his social security number to demonstrate his confidence in his identity theft protection company, LifeLock. Obviously, his company’s services leave a little something to be desired.

On Tuesday the Federal Trade Commission promised Davis that he’ll be doing more than blushing—LifeLock must pay twelve million dollars for deceptive advertising and for failing to secure customer data.

Wired reports:

“In truth, the protection they provided left such a large hole … that you could drive that truck through it,” said FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz, referring to a LifeLock TV ad showing a truck painted with Davis’s Social Security number driving around city streets.

For only ten dollars per month, LifeLock’s first services consisted of placing fraud alerts on consumers’ personal credit files every ninety days—something that anyone with a phone or a computer could do, for free.

As covered extensively by the Phoenix NewTimes, the U.S. District Judge Andrew Guilford ruled last May that this was illegal. As a result, LifeLock then stepped up their protection services to “more sophisticated and more scientific algorithms to spot identity fraud.”

What exactly this means, no one is sure, but for Davis at least it isn’t working.

Related content:
Discoblog: Now You Can Trash Your Credit Guilt-Free, Thanks to Biodegradable Credit Cards
80Beats: How Did “Soupnazi” Allegedly Steal 130 Million Credit Card Numbers
DISCOVER: 20 Things You Didn’t Know About… Money

Image: flickr / BigBreaks

Video: YouTube / aswyant

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Crime & Punishment

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