Cloudmark recently noticed that LifeLock, a company that purports to protect its customers from identity theft, had launched a new spam email campaign directing recipients to their website to sign up for these services.
The emails violate the CAN-SPAM Act in several ways. For one, by using an “envelope-from” to disguise the actual From address, second, by remote-linking images, and third, by not clearly marking it as an advertisement.
The email contains these images:
This is deceptive: note that the email contents are images, even though they appear to have clickable text links. If you do click on the contents, it links you to LifeLock’s website, which prompts you to purchase their monthly service:
Rest assured, as the FTC found, these claims are misleading. Lifelock’s problems go back to its inception, which according to press reports was based on a lie, namely, that the founder had been inspired to create the company while spending a week in jail due to gambling debts incurred by identity theft. In fact, these debts were his own. LifeLock then went on to be issued with a 12 million dollar FTC penalty for deceptive business practices in 2010.
Two months after the settlement, LifeLock’s CEO Todd Davis attempted to advertise their services by displaying his Social Security Number, resulting in several incidences of identity theft against him despite his own company’s “protection”.
This year, LifeLock made Consumer Report’s Naughty List for 2015 by violating the FTC settlement, continuing to make deceptive claims about its services and failing to protect their users’ data, which culminated in the recent 100 million dollar settlement with the FTC.
We recommend against patronizing any business that uses spam to advertise. It will only encourage more spam, and they are generally unethical in other ways as well. If identity theft concerns you – and it should – a credit freeze at all four credit bureaus is the best option. More detailed information is in the link, but in short, simply place a call or an online request to Equifax, Experian, Innovis, and Trans Union. It only costs a small, one-time fee ($0-$15 each, depending on state law), and best of all: it actually works.