Monday, March 17, 2008

Experian vs. LifeLock

Since I heard of LifeLock a few weeks ago, I've been seeing their ads all over the place - on television, on the Internet. I'm sure the ads were there before, I just didn't notice them. Either that or someone is trying to tell me that I really better protect my identity.

Now, if you recall, life lock places fraud alerts on their customers' files with the credit bureaus, meaning that if someone, even the customer, is trying to get a new credit card, buy a car, get a cell phone, or anything else that requires a credit check, the company issuing credit is supposed to be extra careful and make sure that the person applying for credit really is who he says he is. Now one of the big credit bureaus, Experian, is suing LifeLock. They say what LifeLock does is fraud, and the company should not be allowed to place these fraud alerts on their customers' credit files. It seems to me that if these credit bureaus were really on the side of the consumer, they would already be making it very very difficult for identity thieves to use someone else's credit. Should you really have to already be a victim before you can be assured that employees of the credit reporting bureaus will take all steps necessary to verify a creditor's credentials, before divulging information contained in the records?

What LifeLock is trying to do is protect the consumer, and Experian is none too happy about it, because it is costing them money, not just the extra cost of placing all those fraud alerts, but the extra money Experian itself would be happy to charge in order to offer a similar kind of protection people are getting with LifeLock. Instead of crying, "Foul!" maybe Experian should just start doing a better job?