Identity theft, hit jobs, gossip, and class acts

I checked out this Lifelock hit job story with the initial intent of commenting on the company’s worthiness in the old Spamroll way, so I’ll follow that path first…

Lifelock provides credit services under the identity theft protection moniker. I discussed some of the methodologies for protecting your identity way back when, but failed to note that some of the ideas did require a lot of time and effort. Being that time is something a lot of people don’t have, that’s where Lifelock comes in. There is no secret sauce here, IMHO. But engineering fraud alerts etc. is a pain in the ass and getting your credit reports will cost you around $40 bucks, so if Lifelock is asking ten bucks a month and you are comfortable turning your personal information over to a third party, it is probably not a bad deal. Even if you cancel after you receive your reports, those fraud alerts remain in your file for seven years – it then becomes a really good deal. However, keep in mind that if you are an everyday Jane or Joe without a personal banker, using these tactics WILL make credit harder to come by even for yourself. Be prepared for hassles.

Nevertheless, I’ll give Lifelock a tentative thumbs up for those wanting for resources measured by the clock.

Mike Arrington is likely right – the email floated to him was a hit piece. The sale of personal information is big business, and the resulting opportunities are shrinking. Credit providers know that there are only two types of credit consumers left in the world – those that are tapped out and won’t get approval for more credit, and those that use credit so wisely (i.e. pay their balances in full almost every month) that they are for the most part unprofitable. Credit providers already know the secret of what to do with unprofitable customers (although their notion is to fee them to death until they just walk away). Either way, it is market for which truly qualified leads are drying up, and the automation of credit protection tactics reduces another link in the value chain.

That should have been the end of it, but the story continued.

On ValleyWag’s grave dancing…well I didn’t see the stuff as I don’t visit ValleyWag. Gossip is for Paris Hilton followers.

When all was said and done, Bessemer Ventures partner David Cowan showed everyone how to be a class act. He came to the defense of his investment’s founder with openess and conviction. VC’s have been known to make bets on the “eccentric” so there is the obvious need to cover one’s own behind too. Nonetheless, it was a sign of integrity and forthrightness rarely seen nowadays. If nothing else, kudos to Cowan…for having some balls.

UPDATE: What was Lifelock thinking? Maybe I gave them more credit than they deserved.

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