Illinois AG suing firm for identity protection charges

By Wailin Wong
Posted Sep. 2, 2010 at 11:45 a.m.

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan said Thursday she is suing a California company for charging consumers for identity protection services that they never requested.

The lawsuit, filed in Sangamon County Circuit Court, claims that ID Lifeguards Inc. of Glendale, Calif., charged $157,562 on the phone bills of 5,071 Illinois consumers between September 2009 and March 2010.

Madigan’s lawsuit alleges that ID Lifeguards marketed identity protection services, as well as unrelated services such as coupons and online contests, on third-party Web sites. Visitors to these sites were directed to a sign-up page and asked to enter personal information, after which they were unknowingly signed up for identity protection services and billed $12.95 a month, the lawsuit said. The charges appeared under “miscellaneous” on phone bills as “ID Credit Protect/Repair Mthly.”

The lawsuit further alleged that despite the ID Lifeguards’ site offering a free credit report as one of its services, consumers in Illinois complained to Madigan’s office that they did not receive this report.

The lawsuit added that between September 2009 and March 2010, ID Lifeguards refunded about $107,355 to 2,832 Illinois consumers. These refunds represent 56 percent of all Illinois consumers billed.

Also named as a defendant in the lawsuit is Arthur Natanyan, a Burbank, Calif. resident who is the owner of ID Lifeguards. A man who answered Natanyan’s phone at ID Lifeguards’ office said he would be unavailable for comment until Friday morning.

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