Warning: This is scary stuff!
Thanks for your support, suggestions and comments on my fraud post! As it turns out, Mr. Darling and I found out the answer to the fraud question at the same time - he did it by calling LifeLock, and I did it by finding this article online. So, I thought I'd share the answer with the rest of you, just as an FYI, and hopefully to also inspire you to send nasty letters to people.
Here's what happened: Apparently, lots of companies that get money from member subscriptions (including LifeLock, IdentitySweep, and Lingo Internet phone service, all of which are services to which Mr. Darling was fraudulently subscribed) use affiliate companies to do the actual dirty work of signing up new customers. These affiliates get incentives or bonuses to sign up lots of customers, or they're required to meet a certain quota of new customers every month. See where this is going yet?
In order to meet the quota or get bonuses without having to go through the hassle of actually finding willing customers, unscrupulous affiliates will use stolen credit or debit card information and stolen identities to sign people up for services that they don't actually want. They meet their quota, they look like stellar performers, they get a bonus, and then people like my husband get stuck with $600 in fees for services they never wanted in the first place.
Here's the part that makes me mad: the point of Life Lock and Identity Sweep is to keep people from stealing your identity. However, by using affiliate companies and assigning new customer quotas and then obviously not doing nearly enough to ensure that all of the new customers are people who really want to sign up for these services, LifeLock and IdentitySweep are indirectly providing affiliates with an incentive to steal your identity. I mean, hello, these companies are supposed to keep your identity safe, and yet they don't notice that it's slightly odd for a new customer to sign up for LifeLock and IdentitySweep (not to mention three other subscription services) in the same day???? Customers are supposed to trust these companies to keep their personal financial information safe, yet they can't even keep it safe from their own employees???? Way to go, LifeLock and IdentitySweep.
I will be raising a ruckus over this. I'm sending angry letters, making angry phone calls, and (obviously) posting angry blog entries. I encourage you to do the same! Don't feel like writing your own post about it? Feel free to link to my blog. Also, take a moment to email firstname.lastname@example.org and express your concerns. The scariest thing is that as soon as my husband called LifeLock and told them that he'd been fraudulently signed up with them, they knew exactly what the problem was, because it had happened lots of times before. In other words, they know this is a problem, yet they haven't fixed it. When Mr. D spoke to a LifeLock representative, they had his name, his phone number, and his address. Translation? LifeLock's and IdentitySweep's affiliates are using my husband's stolen identity to pay for LifeLock's and IdentitySweep's identity theft protection!
If we can't trust identity protection companies to take precautions to avoid having their own affiliates steal our identities (and as a result, fraudulently taking our money themselves), then it seems to me they can't be trusted to protect us from anyone else, either.