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ALBANY, GA (WALB) – A man who says he can protect your identity apparently can't protect his own.
You may have seen the television commercial showing a billboard truck driving through New York City showing a man's social security number.
It's an ad for LifeLock, an identity theft protection company. The Social Security number belongs to its CEO.
Call it gutsy. Call it crazy. Call it great advertising. Whatever the opinion, Todd Davis boasted his Social Security number to the world on TV and in full page newspapers ads.
It was LifeLock's way of providing peace of mind to its customers.
In a 2007 interview with NBC, Davis said, "I'm glad to take the center stage to put mine out there as example, because then we can tell people you can take steps to make this useless to criminals."
That same year, perhaps the most famous Social Security number in the world got into the wrong hands of someone here in Albany, Georgia.
"Mr. Davis did give out his Social Security number through his company on television and unfortunately, that Social Security number was used to create a cell phone account," said APD Media Manager Phyllis Banks.
In October 2008, Davis contacted police in Arizona who then forwarded the case to APD after his name was used to open an AT&T/Cingular wireless account with an unpaid bill totaling more than $2,300.
"It's still a crime. He's still a victim. Our investigators still have to do their jobs to seek justice for him," said Banks.
The investigation led officers to a home on West Waddell Avenue, but no suspects were ever named. Only a person of interest, a woman who police have been unable to locate, has been sought in the case.
In the mean time there was an unpaid bill due to AT&T.
"Unfortunately we have two victims in this case. That is Mr. Davis and AT&T," said Banks.
But this isn't the first time Davis has fallen victim to identity thieves. According to the Chandler Police Department in Arizona, it's happened six other times.
"From a police standpoint, we would advise people not to conduct business in this manner by publicly giving out their Social Security number. That's not good. Unfortunately, things like this will happen," said Banks.
LifeLock paid $12 million earlier this year to settle a deceptive advertising lawsuit filed by the Federal Trade Commission. Despite the lawsuit, Davis says the marketing campaign led to many more Americans knowing about the threat of identity theft.
LifeLock was founded five years ago in Tempe, Arizona.
The company claims it will spend up to $1 million to restore the name of any customer who becomes a victim of identity theft.