Learning from the Todd Davis Social Security number incident

LifeLock CEO Todd Davis revealed his Social Security number to millions – showing his confidence in LifeLock’s services.

There were 13 attempts to steal his identity – loans, cell phone and utility accounts were opened up in his name, and numerous items were purchased on credit. And LifeLock did exactly what it was supposed to do: Davis was notified and the thefts were stopped, leaving his credit unharmed.

But not everyone was on board – the Federal Trade Commission sued the identity theft protection company, which was fined $35 million. A settlement was reached between the two parties, and LifeLock continued to fine-tune its product and protect its members.

Amidst all this turmoil, LifeLock has continued to help people learn to be proactive in protecting their identities.

First of all, don’t give out your Social Security number unless absolutely necessary. It’s necessary on your tax return or for a new employer, but for someone on the phone claiming to be your landlord or doing a survey for the government, it isn’t.

You should always ask why it is needed, what they will do with it, how your data will be secured and who will have access to it. There is also no reason to carry your Social Security card in your wallet or purse in case it is lost or stolen. It should be kept safe and secure in the home, away from prying eyes.

There will likely always be critics of LifeLock and the identity theft protection industry as a whole. As the Todd Davis Social Security incident proved, no one can prevent identity theft from happening. But you can be proactive and make it more difficult for a thief to strike.