A slate of companies legitimately profit from identity theft by offering services that the three credit reporting agencies refuse to make easily accessible to consumers. The Times brings us the stories of three such companies that are sucking the venture capital teat all the way to market:
- Debix: For just $99 per year, whenever someone tries to open a line of credit, Debix will call and play your own pre-recorded approval message. Credit will be denied unless you enter the super-secret PIN.
- LifeLock: Maybe not the best of the bunch, LifeLock offers to place and preserve fraud alerts on credit files. CEO Todd Davis promoted his company’s services by bandying his social security number about the internet, challenging anyone to defeat his company’s software; a scammer successfully pried $500 from a check-cashing firm using his identity.
- TrustedID: For $12.95 per month, TrustedID places alerts and freezes on credit files. The credit reporting agencies recently began allowing consumers to request credit freezes for free – but they only last 90 days.
If the three privately-owned, for-profit credit reporting agencies want to keep the exclusive high honor of determining each American’s credit worthiness, they should offer these defenses to every consumer, free of charge.