Imagine you found out that your former spouse had opened a fake LifeLock credit monitoring account in your name, and then used it to follow your every financial move for two years? Then imagine that no one at LifeLock will take your query seriously, even after the police get involved.
That’s the story of an Arizona woman who learned in March that her ex-husband had been keeping track — literally, their son found a five-page Excel spreadsheet on his computer — of her bank accounts, credit cards and other financial activities.
“He knew everything I did,” she tells the Arizona Republic. “I had no idea about all the things he knew.”
That spreadsheet didn’t just have financial info. It also included his ex-wife’s passwords and answers to her security questions. When she reviewed the file — which her son had sent her after finding it on dad’s computer — she saw mention of a LifeLock account that her ex was paying for.
So she went on the service’s website, checked out this account: It had her name, her Social Security number, but all the alerts were going to her ex.
Now that she had access to the account, she was able to lock her ex out and subsequently get an order of protection against him, prohibiting him from “in-person contact with companies or doing so telephonically or cyber stalking,” and from contacting any one about her accounts with “credit card companies, LifeLock, credit agencies, bank accounts, e-mail address, Facebook, etc.”
But while the police and the court listened to her, LifeLock could apparently not be bothered to care.
Not only did the company not respond to her queries about the situation, she tells the Republic that LifeLock actively tried to block her access to the account — in order to protect the privacy of her ex-husband.
“I had this overwhelming feeling that nobody was taking me seriously,” she explains. “Like this was the 1950s or something and that this is something I should just live with.”
While she was able to block her ex from having access to the service, he was still able to close the account because he was the one who had paid for it. Rather than help her by providing the requested documents or keeping the account open, LifeLock advised that she open an entirely new account.
“They told me I could have all of the account info and then they did a flip-flop and told me I couldn’t get the information once an account was closed,” she tells the Republic.
Then there were the contradictory e-mails from LifeLock reps. Like the one stating that the tech support team had explained that “when an account is cancelled and then reinstated following cancellation, past records from the old profile cannot be retrieved or made available online,” followed by another e-mail admitting that records were still available “to any law enforcement agency or via a subpoena.”
And yet, when a law enforcement officer tried to obtain this information, he hit nothing but roadblocks.
“The information is necessary for me to obtain a search warrant,” wrote an investigator for the sheriff’s office to LifeLock in July. “As the days and weeks go by, I fear that the information in my affidavit may go stale.”
The investigator didn’t get any of that info until November, after the Arizona Republic got involved.
That’s when LifeLock, presumably fearing public humiliation, released the requested documents to the investigator and apologized to the victim, offering to also pay her legal fees.
But even in the company’s public statement on the matter, the company still refers to the victim as the man’s “wife,” which is in line with her claims that the company repeatedly treated this harassment as a domestic spat between spouses, and not a case of illegal stalking.
This is just the latest in a long string of problems for LifeLock. Its most infamous gaffe involves the company’s CEO having the hubris to publicly share his Social Security number, claiming LifeLock would prevent him from identity theft… only to have his identity stolen at least 13 times.
That same year, LifeLock was hit with a $11 million settlement by the Federal Trade Commission for false and misleading statements made in its advertising.
“While LifeLock promised consumers complete protection against all types of identity theft, in truth, the protection it actually provided left enough holes that you could drive a truck through it,” then-FTC Chair Jon Leibowitz said at the time.
Then, around the same time that LifeLock was ignoring e-mails from the sheriff’s office, the FTC filed a new complaint, alleging that the company had violated that 2010 settlement by continuing to make false representations in its marketing.
For its continued tradition of non-excellence, LifeLock recently made Consumer Reports’ Naughty list for 2015.