Monday, June 02, 2008

LifeLock news; we still don't demand enough of lenders

There is a PC World story from late May about the founded or Life Lock, Todd Davis, whose own identity was stolen. The story also relates some complaints about LifeLock, which is a common issue with many startups. You can find it in Travis Hudson’s PC World blog here.

It still seems to me that in practice, one of the best practical protections for identity protection is to stay alert. Keep watch your own accounts online, especially bank accounts where you have a debit card. Keep up with your credit reports. It seems from personal experience that people who are less computer literate or who are not able to get to their personal information because of business travel, especially overseas, or, especially now, volunteer or humanitarian work overseas, have more issues.

I have wondered if there are subtle demographics that makes someone more or less of a “mark.” For example, I have an unusual Eastern European last name. It might be harder to imitate me and get away with it. Although I am not a celebrity in the usual Tinseltown or “Hillary Clinton” sense, I am somewhat well known, enough that it is not easy to get away with replicating me.

Still, as I’ve said many times, we don’t expect enough due diligence and care from lenders and banks. Look at the way they got us into the subprime mess. Is it any wonder they can drop the ball on not checking applicants’ identities carefully? We still need some sort of identity check database (based on NCOA), and I think we can do it without impinging on ordinary privacy or civil liberties.

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