The New York City Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) today launched an in-depth investigation of LifeLock, Inc. – the self-proclaimed “industry leader” in the identity theft protection industry – for its deceptive print and Web site advertisements which can lead consumers to believe falsely that they are insured against any identity theft that takes place while they are enrolled, that the company will reimburse money lost as a result of identity theft, and that the company will spend up to $1 million each time a LifeLock customer is a victim of identity theft.
In its papers, DCA cited the full-page advertisements that LifeLock ran in both The New York Times and The Daily News between January and March of this year, as well as claims posted on its Web site, as deceptive and misleading, including claims that its “$1 Million Total Service Guarantee” protects individuals for up to $1 million if they become victims of identity theft. LifeLock does not reveal any of the “fine print” in these advertisements, which discloses that the company will not pay for consumers’ personal losses from identity theft and that the service guarantee only covers identity theft caused by failure in LifeLock’s service.
“While promising to protect consumers, it looks like what LifeLock is really doing is deceiving them,” said Consumer Affairs Commissioner Jonathan Mintz. “Hidden footnotes that substantially qualify bold come-ons are not only a classic warning sign for consumers, but they’re illegal.”
In addition to issuing violations for false advertising, the Department gave LifeLock written notice of its intention to file suit against the company. DCA is not only asking LifeLock to correct its misleading marketing practices, but will also seek restitution for consumers who were victims of LifeLock’s false advertisements. This enforcement effort is part of the DCA’s larger initiative to raise public awareness about identity theft.
The Department of Consumer Affairs is soliciting
consumer complaints about LifeLock’s identity theft protection products and
services, including deceptive or misleading advertising, billing and contract
disputes, refusal to refund money, and failure to deliver promised services,
such as a $1 million guarantee. New York City residents can call 311 to report
their complaints. For more information about false advertising, call 311 or go
online to the DCA website at www.nyc.gov/consumers.
DCA enforces the Consumer Protection Law and other
related business laws throughout New York City. Ensuring a fair and vibrant
marketplace for consumers and businesses alike, DCA licenses more than 60,000
businesses in 55 different categories. Through targeted outreach, partnerships
with community and trade organizations, and informational materials, DCA
educates consumers and businesses about their rights and responsibilities.
For more information, call 311 or visit DCA online at www.nyc.gov/consumers.