In 2009, the identity theft prevention company LifeLock was in trouble. The Federal Trade Commission and attorneys general in 35 states were investigating allegations that it was engaging in false and deceptive advertising practices and potentially exposing customers to the risk of identity theft because it was careless with their personal information. Class-action lawsuits against the company were piling up with similar allegations.
But that April, the beleaguered company got a major boost of positive publicity courtesy of Donald Trump, who featured LifeLock and its CEO Todd Davis on an episode of The Celebrity Apprentice in which contestants designed retail sales strategies for the outfit.
In a press release announcing the LifeLock episode—titled "Donald Trump & LifeLock® Want to Protect Your Personal Information and Say 'You're Fired' to Identity Theft"— Trump heaped praise on the company.
LifeLock was co-founded by Robert J. Maynard in 2005. He came up with the idea for the company while sitting in an Arizona jail after being arrested for stiffing the Las Vegas Mirage Hotel on a $15,000 casino marker.
Maynard had previously run a credit-repair business that was shut down by government regulators in the 1990s for engaging in "unfair and deceptive acts."
According to a 2010 lawsuit by the Federal Trade Commission, the company did not offer the level of fraud protection it promised and in fact exposed consumers to possible identity theft because of its poorly secured databases containing sensitive customer information, including Social Security numbers.
Trump: "Todd Davis and my friends at LifeLock have created a revolutionary system to protect and secure your personal information. They are going on The Apprentice to let the country in on a well-kept secret—I advise you check out what they have to offer."
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