The FTC claims that Lifelock deceived the public by guaranteeing that it could protect consumers from identity theft, even though Lifelock's protection is not 100% effective in preventing ID theft, since it fails to stop fraud on existing credit card accounts. According to Illinois state attorney Attorney General Lisa Madigan:
“Unfortunately, there’s nothing you can do or purchase that will protect you 100 percent from identity theft,” Madigan said. “Don’t be scared into spending your hard earned money.”Now Lifelock has never claimed that it could prevent identity theft with 100% efficacy. What Lifelock has promised, and delivered, is a proactive identity theft protection service backed up by a guarantee that if the service fails (as any security mechanism will at times do), Lifelock will protect the subscriber's time and money by contributing the legal/accounting/forensic work necessary to set the record straight. And Lifelock's guarantee is 100% effective in protecting consumers from loss of time and money due to identity theft. (And no one even bothers filing claims about credit card fraud because the banks already cover those losses for the consumer.)
And even if the FTC were right that Lifelock is not 100% effective, does that really mean that the service has no value -- that consumers shouldn't spend their "hard-earned money" on it? That would mean that consumers should never buy ANY security product at all, since nothing is 100% effective.
Finally, the FTC thought that Lifelock's claims were too strong because we promised to "prevent" identity theft. And yet "prevention" is the promise of most every security product on the market: According to the Symantec Store, Norton Internt Security "prevents virus-infected emails and instant messages from spreading." According to McAfee, its Host Intrusion Prevention for Desktop product will "prevent loss of confidential data by securing desktops from targeted attacks." Experian (when they're not selling your data) also promises to "prevent fraud." This Google channel partner promises that Postini will "Stop Spam. Prevent Viruses."
The truth is that the FTC doesn't care whether consumers need protection from Lifelock's ads. The FTC has clear direction from President Obama to demonstrate its dominion over financial services as he campaigns to establish a consumer protection agency, and so the FTC is prepared to enforce and potentially litigate even in cases they know they can't win. Lifelock understood this, and so even though $12 million is a LOT of money, it's nothing compared to what the lawyers will charge over the next 5 years to successfully defend against an FTC crusade.
I'm proud of Lifelock's success, its team, and its technology. I'm a happy subscriber, along with 1.7 million other people. I know of no better way to protect my family from identity theft than Lifelock.