Using Own Social Security Number in Ads Turned Out Not to be a Good Idea After All!

Bad Idea: Telling strangers your social security number.
Really Bad Idea: Broadcasting it nationwide to advertise your fraud-prevention company.
Neatorama Worthy: Getting burned because your identity actually did get stolen!

Here's the story of Todd Davis, CEO of LifeLock, who used his real social security number in TV and radio ads, and how he's being sued because his company failed to protect his own identity:

Todd Davis has dared criminals for two years to try stealing his identity: Ads for his fraud-prevention company, LifeLock, even offer his Social Security number next to his smiling mug.

Now, Lifelock customers in Maryland, New Jersey and West Virginia are suing Davis, claiming his service didn't work as promised and he knew it wouldn't, because the service had failed even him.

Attorney David Paris said he found records of other people applying for or receiving driver's licenses at least 20 times using Davis' Social Security number, though some of the applications may have been rejected because data in them didn't match what the Social Security Administration had on file.

Davis acknowledged in an interview with The Associated Press that his stunt has led to at least 87 instances in which people have tried to steal his identity, and one succeeded: a guy in Texas who duped an online payday loan operation last year into giving him $500 using Davis' Social Security number.

Link - via Boing Boing


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Correcting myself: Actually I've double checked the facts and as of a May 29th interview, Davis had had 88 attempted thefts of his identity. Only one of which was even close to successful - the $500 pay day advance loan. Every other attempt failed. What is more, the only reason the pay day advance loan didn't fail is because the guy who worked at the place didn't due his due diligence to confirm the guy's identity.

Don't believe me? Listen to the interview at the link I posted as my "website"
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Actually, this is a false rumor. He really didn't get his identity stolen. One guy tried to take out a $500 payroll advance in his name and got busted for it. So yeah... the system worked.
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Did anyone else read the Phoenix New Times article about this guy? Not that they're the best source, but he's been up to his eyeballs in financial problems for a long time. Apparently (as I recall) he didn't pay back bookies in Las Vegas, was arrested, and stole money from his father. Then he began one or two other companies which ended in failure or bankruptcy before founding his Lifelock business. Their main center of operations was just down the street from where I used to work. I even gave a ride to a woman going there for an interview, but she had never heard of any of these things before meeting with them. You'd have to look at what their actual services are before signing up for their services, because they can only do so much.
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I don't know much about SSNs, but why aren't they like credit card numbers? Why can't a new one be issued if the old one is compromised? If the government issues a new number and cancels the old one, it seems to me that the problem of identity theft would become a little less of a problem.

Or is that too simple a solution?
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