There’s really no other way to describe Dartanyon Williams than fascinating. As you’ll hear in this episode, Dartanyon fell into the profitable endeavor of identity theft at the age of 15. By the time he was 23 years old, he had built a million-dollar, 40-member, multi-level crime ring. Then, it all fell apart. Dartanyon went to prison, including a three-year stint in solitary confinement. Since then, he has served as a consultant to everyone, from the FBI and secret service to the US Attorney’s Office.
In this interview about his new book, The Master Identity Thief, Dartanyon not only shares his own story but also insight into identity theft, how what we don’t know can hurt us, and steps for protecting ourselves. This information is especially pertinent now because as Dartanyon explains, just as identity theft soared in the year following the 2008 recession, we can anticipate a similar phenomenon in the wake of the current pandemic. As Frank Abagnale, the subject of Catch Me If You Can, says of this book, “Dartanyon’s testimony, which mirrors my story in many ways, culminates with praiseworthy, relevant solutions.”
Nikki Van Noy: I’m excited to be here today with author Dartanyon Williams, the author of the new book, The Master Identity Thief: Testimony and Solutions of an Expert Witness. Dartanyon, I am fascinated by your story and I’ve been looking forward to talking to you for a while now, so thank you so much for joining us.
Dartanyon Williams: Yes ma’am. Thank you guys for having me, I’m excited. I’m thrilled to get into the story, to share with your listeners the essence and the beginning, the foundation of my mastery as an identity thief and how it scaled and developed throughout my criminal career.
Nikki Van Noy: Absolutely. I’m going to let you take it away and let us know how this all started.
Dartanyon Williams: Well, at the adolescent age of 15 years old, when I was consumed by naiveté and curiosity, I decided to take it upon myself to peek into my father’s credit worthiness with respect or regard to his Capital One credit card.
Those curiosities led to the actual theft of his credentials. More specifically, his social security number, date of birth, home address, and all those things that were necessary to access his account. Starting at the age of 15.
Nikki Van Noy: You mentioned curiosity as something that compelled you to do this. What led you to actually take action?
Dartanyon Williams: The constant repeat of the host of Capital One commercials that I was watching that as a kid, at that time, there was ‘Purchase power.’ I knew that my mom and dad had a Capital One credit card because I used to see the billing statements on the kitchen table. That curiosity, in terms of the contents of those billing statements, of those envelopes, led to the connection between those commercials and I just decided to pursue it.
Nikki Van Noy: There is the power of advertising right there.
Dartanyon Williams: Yes, ma’am, it is. Very compelling and convincing.
Nikki Van Noy: How did that situation play out? Were you able to get away with that?
Dartanyon Williams: For a season, I was able to get away with it, until my spending habits got out of control in connection with some gambling habits that I was developing as a kid–neighborhood gambling in terms of shooting dice on the street corner, and playing table cards at community card games.
When I got to a place where I could no longer keep up with the minimum payments, Capital One alerted my parents by calling to advise them that they had either missed a payment or they were short on the payment and boom, there it was.
Nikki Van Noy: It’s funny, this story, the way you told it, I had jumped to conclusions in my head. You were actually making the payments, that’s pretty responsible for a 15-year-old, identity theft aside. But you were basically conducting your business there, even though you were young?
Dartanyon Williams: Yes, ma’am, I took it upon myself to become a member of the management of the household economy.
Nikki Van Noy: How did your parents react when they found out?
Dartanyon Williams: Well my mom was livid. My dad is more democratic, he has more of an appreciation for the democratic model of parenting, but my mom is more of an authoritarian. She was also the disciplinarian and she wanted to actually engage the cops and report me to the local police, but my dad was not having that.
Nikki Van Noy: Wow, I mean, good mom right there, she was trying to prevent what ended up happening from happening right there at that first instance, it sounds like.
Dartanyon Williams: Yes, ma’am, she was.
Nikki Van Noy: Talk to me about how things escalated from there?
Dartanyon Williams: Well, I had to sell my dad’s identity. I went on to take a peek into my mom’s credentials and credibility. At this time, both of my parents were ‘A’ tier credit levels, my dad having a 756, I remember it very vividly, my mom’s somewhere in terms of the 760 plus, at that time. After having exhausted my dad’s credentials, I went on to my mom. And then after my mom, I went on to both of my grandparents.
Nikki Van Noy: How did that turn out?
Dartanyon Williams: It evolved in, for me, since it was family and I was the grandchild, that was doubted upon, there was no real consequence internally from my immediate and nuclear family members. But those things scaled and as long as I was getting away with it, it scaled, developed, and evolved to the commission of greater and grander schemes with regard to identity theft, credit score fraud, and check fraud.
Nikki Van Noy: Talk to me about how you were able to pull this off? Because you were so relatively young when all of this was happening, how were you able to access the information that you needed to perform identity theft in the first place once you moved outside of your family?
Dartanyon Williams: Well, this is in the late 90s, early 2000s, and technology then was not what it is now. Hotels in Monroe, Louisiana and some of the smaller metropolis cities, would keep their credit card or transaction receipts in storage boxes, tucked away in storage closets that were surprisingly, left unlocked.
In those storage boxes and as part of those transaction receipts, were copies of the patron’s driver’s license, and front and back carbon copies of their credit cards, all right there, subject to my accessibility and gathering information. Having learned how to manipulate it and make use of it, by practicing some on my mom and dad and both sisters and grandparents, positioned me very uniquely to explore the field and landscape of identity theft in a way that was novel to the system. That had not yet begun to peak on the radar from both a federal, state, and local level in terms of law enforcement.
Nikki Van Noy: Tell me what you mean by that? What were you doing that was novel at this time and what did that look like?
Dartanyon Williams: What I was doing was, I was taking advantage of two types of methods of transactions. We had, at that time, the instant credit market, which was fairly new and merchants were not as informed in this space and area of identity theft. They were conducting transactions by way of facsimile. We were able to make full copies of purchases, in fact, so got credentials to perpetuate the scam.
Nikki Van Noy: Wow, very entrepreneurial of you, I have to say.
Dartanyon Williams: Yes, ma’am.
Nikki Van Noy: You went on and this became a million-dollar, 40-member, multi-level crime ring, is that correct?
Dartanyon Williams: Yes, ma’am. By the time I was 22, 23, I had amassed a 40-member organization.
Nikki Van Noy: Wow.
Dartanyon Williams: 20 men and 20 women, most of whom were older than me. The reason being that I learned in the field by trial and error, was that sometimes, the credit approval amounts and the credit scores did not match my youthful appearance as an identity thief. I quickly learned that in order for this thing to be perfected and as such, to pass the credit approval amount, the person needed to be someone who was of an older age and criteria so that they could engage in transactions without question.
Nikki Van Noy: Was this all limited to acquiring credit cards and then buying on them, or did you branch out from there in any way, at any point?
Dartanyon Williams: Absolutely. Credit card fraud was actually the landing of the entire identity theft operation. I had the benefit of having access to my targeted victim’s credit profile, which means, I could have their credit reports in hand to peruse and examine it very thoroughly to make a determination of what price points or what return on profit that I was set as a goal going into the theft of that particular identity based on the credit score and criteria.
Nikki Van Noy: We talked earlier about how this was a different time and this information was more accessible. It could be lying around in a material way, unlike it is today. But it seems to me that once that this grew bigger and bigger, it must have been more systematic than just being in places and stumbling into information you could use. Is that right?
Dartanyon Williams: Yeah, absolutely. The 40-member organization consisted of two types of operatives. One, I called a field operative, which engaged in terms of the field of operation. The other operative was what I called the info operative, that’s the individual that worked as an employee in some of the more frequented establishments, such as restaurants, hotels, tax preparation companies, retail stores, high-end retail stores, car dealerships, and other places where consumers readily deposit their information and trust in the system without care or conscious.
Nikki Van Noy: Wow, okay. As you were doing this, did you feel morally or ethically conflicted by it in any way?
Dartanyon Williams: No, ma’am, not at that time and in that season, absolutely not. It was a suspension of emotion and in order to engage at that level, the identity thief, the master identity thief has to assume a dark mind and have no regard for the emotions, the ramifications, the consequences that his victim feels. When that question is raised, I always refer back to my parents and use that as an example. If I had no regard for my parents and how I perpetrated their identities, then certainly and surely the world was next, in terms of targeting with an organization.
The System Catches Up
Nikki Van Noy: Yeah, that makes perfect sense. Talk to me about how this all came down on you?
Dartanyon Williams: Greed was the motivating factor in terms of how I got caught initially. I accumulated 3.1 million dollars in cash at the age of 23.
Nikki Van Noy: Woah.
Dartanyon Williams: No longer was it about accumulating the money, collecting the money, it was about advancing the scheme, perpetuating the scam, playing cat and mouse, and cop and robber with law enforcement. It was about outsmarting those who had captured me and incarcerated me. It was about now targeting them–it was about me against the system and how I can outwit it in such a way that I would make an example out of it in order to prove that I could beat the system.
Nikki Van Noy: At some point, I am assuming that the system caught up with you, is that correct?
Dartanyon Williams: Yes, ma’am, absolutely. The system caught up with me in 2003, February the 2nd. I was taken to state custody for some probationary violations and from state custody, I was transferred over to federal custody, having been under investigation for a period of the previous two years. That probation violation arrest led to my first federal conviction–conspiracy to commit identity theft.
Nikki Van Noy: When you hit this level, did anything about your mindset change? Where were you at, emotionally and mentally?
Dartanyon Williams: When I fell into incarceration?
Nikki Van Noy: Yes.
Dartanyon Williams: Well, the thing about being incarcerated, let me just explain, we’re briefly in two different systems. In a state system, as long as I was being arrested, I was able to make bond. You have to keep in mind that in-between the ages of 18 and 23, I was arrested 23 times.
Nikki Van Noy: Wow.
Dartanyon Williams: That’s all as a result of me bonding in and out of state custody but when my charges were adopted by the federal government, I came to find out really quickly that the system didn’t work as such. Then you have to argue why the federal government should release your bond as one who is a flight risk or a danger to society.
Although, I argue to this day that I was not a flight risk because court records show while I was fighting those state charges, I attended each and every court date. Me running from responsibility and not accepting my actions or facing the consequences of my actions, for me, that was not an option. But in terms of being a danger to society, I was definitely that. The government rightly argued for my remanding, to the consent of the marshals.
Nikki Van Noy: It’s pretty incredible to hear someone say after the fact that the government was right about that and you were, in fact, a danger to society at that point in your life.
Dartanyon Williams: Yes, ma’am. I mean, I had that regard for the rule of law, and law enforcement, even the underserving, unwitting consumer. It was all about the game, the chase and the adrenaline, the motive, the drive of advancing and accelerating in a space that few existed and still even fewer existed at the level that I existed and occupied.
Nikki Van Noy: When you describe it, it sounds like being doped out on adrenaline.
Dartanyon Williams: It was. In those days, I would suffer from insomnia before I knew what the sleep disorder was because the mental and intellectual energy that goes into preparing and organizing and orchestrating constant schemes, sophisticated scams, at that level, requires focus, dedication, concentration, and dark consecration in order to be able to exist in a space where distraction is not permitted, nor disruption allowed.
Nikki Van Noy: Makes sense. How long were you ultimately incarcerated for?
Dartanyon Williams: Well, I served two stints in federal prison for the first federal probation, conspiracy to commit identity theft, I was sentenced to 18 months and on that 18 months sentence I served 16 of those 18 months.
I got out of federal prison, I stayed out for a period of nine months, only to find myself back in federal custody for a drug charge, which was two counts of distribution of 500 grams of cocaine, which led to my second federal conviction which ended in a six-year term. Accumulatively, I served about eight years of federal prison.
Nikki Van Noy: What is it like being in prison? It’s hard to imagine that scenario if you haven’t been in it.
Dartanyon Williams: Well, state prison and federal prison are vastly different. When I was in state prison, that’s just underfunded, poorly operated, poorly managed–even more if they’re privatized.
For me, state prison was very challenging and very trying. If one can survive state prison then most surely, he or she can survive federal prison. But while I was in state custody, on this last federal arrest and ultimate conviction, I was housed in a state facility.
It is perhaps where I did my hardest time, having endured three long years of unconstitutional solitary confinement for some shenanigans I was perpetrating, under the watchful eyes of prison operations. I had not been caught in the act but nonetheless because I was suspect, and I was subject to solitary confinement. 24/7 for three long years.
Nikki Van Noy: Wow, how did you come out of that? I have to imagine that changes you in really profound ways, especially for that amount of time.
Dartanyon Williams: I mean yeah–one of two things happen in solitary confinement. I would just like to pause here and reference that the United Nations has established that any period that exceeds 15 days in solitary confinement is considered torture.
Nikki Van Noy: You were in for three years.
Dartanyon Williams: Yes, ma’am, I was in for three years. The thing about solitary confinement, once you understand that the human mind is like a garden, whether it’s tended to or left unattended to, it is going to cultivate and grow. Rather, if attended to, it’s going to cultivate in the right direction. If left unattended or unoccupied, it’s just going to grow weeds and as such, collapse into itself. That’s how insanity begins to set in.
For me, I decided to use that period of isolation, not knowing when my date of expulsion would be. I decided to use it and take that penal experience and transform it into a collegiate reality, within myself and the four walls. Obviously, with a whole lot of prayer, fasting and one-on-one interactions and conversations with Yahweh and the holy spirit, that helped me and empowered me, equipped me to endure such horrendous circumstances.
Nikki Van Noy: Yeah, wow. I am so sorry that happened to you and what strength of mind to come out of that.
Dartanyon Williams: Yes, ma’am. There is a documentary about Kalief Browder and how he got lost in the system in New York, and how he was in solitary confinement for more than a thousand days and how basically, he lost his mind.
The system is designed to force compliance by way of attrition. If you don’t conform to the system, if you don’t fight against the system, if you don’t defend and guard yourself against the system, the very mechanisms will overtake you and overcome you. We see that very clearly in his story and how he developed extreme paranoia and how he developed schizophrenia and these other mental illnesses, left unattended to, overtook him and ultimately led to him taking his own life, very sadly.
In that regard, in that way, it is necessary for me to say so that the world will recognize once they watch that documentary, that the system failed him. The system did exactly what the system was designed to do, it broke him, it crushed him, it’s just a sad reality.
Nikki Van Noy: Yeah, instead of crushing you though, you found faith.
Dartanyon Williams: Yes ma’am, absolutely. Instead of questioning, I found faith and fortitude. That situation became very transformative, the constant prayer, the daily prayers, the weekly fast and the looking beyond myself for a greater source of power enabled me to endure those strenuous circumstances. Although Yahweh has one of seven ways in which he speaks out to man, praying is my only line of communicating unto him.
Therefore, I was going to endure solitary confinement, I was going to make it out without losing my sanity. I needed to have a different level of conversation and a different dimension with extra days in pursuit of the development of an intimate relationship.
Nikki Van Noy: This is a spoiler alert for people who have not read the book yet but this has obviously stuck with you. It wasn’t something that you used just to get through that period, it has become woven into who you are.
Dartanyon Williams: Absolutely, yes ma’am. I pray morning, noon, and night. In fact, if I may digress here for a sec, starting March the 31st and ending on April the 19th, I’m going to make an announcement and undertake a national COVID-19 fast. So, we’re going to do 19 days, 19 hours each day, starting on March 31st and expiring April the 19th fast against this COVID-19, fast in hopes of eradicating this disease, the seed of the enemy from our world.
Nikki Van Noy: This is obviously off-topic, but I’m fascinated by this, as we’re recording this podcast, it’s March 20th. Just to put this in context, this is the week where it’s all sort of coming to a head. After solitary confinement, how much longer was it until you were completely released?
Dartanyon Williams: Approximately one more year. At solitary confinement, well, actually, I was transferred to Bastrop Federal Correctional Institute in Bastrop, Texas from solitary confinement. The only way in which I was going to get out of solitary confinement was if I was transferred out of where I was. That’s clear in retrospect. I did one year at Bastrop Federal Correctional Institute, and after, I was released from federal custody and have been released ever since.
Nikki Van Noy: We talked about this faith that you found during your incarceration and especially during solitary confinement. What else changed for you? What were some of the differences between the version of Dartanyon that walked into prison and the version that emerged?
Dartanyon Williams: Yes, ma’am. A couple of things changed, Fatherhood, servanthood. If I may expound on them with specificity, before the term of imprisonment, it was all about Dartanyon Antwon Williams. I just didn’t know what it meant to make provisions as a father, to protect. I did not really begin to appreciate what it meant to be a father and even more so, I didn’t begin to appreciate the fatherhood of my dad, until I was separated from my own children for an extended period of time and I began to realize how much they needed their fathers to be active participants in their daily lives.
Nikki Van Noy: So ultimately, you end up on completely the other side of this. Since being released, you’ve earned consultancies with the FBI, the secret service, Louisiana Bureau of Investigation, Louisiana State Police, and the US Attorney’s Office. How did that happen?
Dartanyon Williams: Well, it happened in two phases. Way back in 2002 and 2003 when I was being investigated by the FBI, I would remind the audience that identity theft was just coming on the scene and coming on the radar. There was a law established in 1998, which is the Identity Theft Assumption and Determent Act.
In fact, four years prior, I had already stolen my dad’s identity in 1995 and laws were passed in 1998. So, the system of the law enforcement community was trying to catch up to this crime that was evolving and scaling way faster than the manpower could comprehend it. My curiosities and my jumping edge on committing to it at the age of 15 and perfecting it 15 to 18 gave me an edge and an advantage that law enforcement did not have.
While in federal custody, after having been transferred to federal custody from state custody, my FBI case agents were curious to learn what I knew. As such, we debriefed, and I consulted with them.
Nikki Van Noy: How did you feel about doing that?
Dartanyon Williams: I was ambivalent, to begin with. That’s a scary situation to be in at 23 years of age. It is formidable, it’s unexpected. You don’t have the state and local police coming and you have 22 encounters that you can anticipate the responses and reactions and outcomes of. Now, you have the big boys if you will.
You have the guys that you see on TV, now staring in your face, wanting to know how. “We know when you did it, but we just don’t understand how you did it.” Part of my sense of mitigation was to share with them how I perpetrated my identity theft schemes. I had to disclose my psychology and not only the psychology, but also the practice and perpetuation of these sophisticated problems.
Nikki Van Noy: Yeah, that seems intimidating for me, although, you’ve talked a lot about how when you were younger, you thought that you could beat the system and were blind to the implications of this on other people. Is intimidating the right word for what it was for you at that point or was it something else?
Dartanyon Williams: Intimidating is one word. But in a weird sense feeling accomplished is another word, as I stated. It was kind of ambivalent, I was intimidated to some extent or degree, I was scared but yet, once I figured out what was going on, after my attorney and I had a talk, and they said, you’re actually educating and informing a body of professionals on a subject matter that they did not fully understand to the extent or degree that you did.
So, after that talk, I come back to the debriefing with a stabilized level of confidence that okay, I can breathe. I don’t have to put my foot up on the table as I was before. I don’t have to be calculated in my communication and think before I speak. I can just engage and communicate with confident ease, knowing that nothing I would disclose or share could be used against me.
Nikki Van Noy: Yeah, I mean what you are saying makes sense. It is an accomplishment in some way because for a 23-year-old giving the FBI information that they are not able to crack on their own. I mean again, not a situation most people have found themselves in.
Dartanyon Williams: That’s right.
How to Protect Yourself
Nikki Van Noy: This book is interesting because it is in part of your story, your memoir. But also, you want to share information about identity theft in its different forms with people today. Let’s start by talking about why that’s so important to you at this juncture in your life?
Dartanyon Williams: Because people just don’t know, Nikki. I mean people are just so unaware and there are over 300 million Americans and I would venture that 299 million of them are at risk and exposure to all forms of identity theft. It is my calling, in part, and it is my duty to engage the masses and take the initiative to not only offer information that’s readily available what they can do and steps that they can take to better protect themselves, but to get in the ditches and trenches. And say, “Hey, here is what’s out there, here’s what’s lurking around the corner, and you ain’t got no clue. If you walk blindly and not with calculation, you are going to be a victim.
Nikki Van Noy: Before we get into the four different types of identity theft, you mentioned that a staggeringly high number of us are potential victims of this. Can you mention some common things that put people at risk that they’re just totally oblivious to?
Dartanyon Williams: People are too trusting of the system. They’re too careless with their credit cards, with their driver’s license, they believe in password protections, they are just novices in preventative measures that they can take to limit and decrease their chances significantly of being victimized by identity theft. A lot of what we witness and see is just the careless transaction of consumer data and not only by the consumer but by the merchant as well.
It’s hard to put protections in place, to mitigate against identity theft, and the compromise of consumer information from the merchant perspective because these are the institutions that we hold dear and near and that we trust very blindly. There are things that we can do from a consumer’s perspective to limit access to our information, and as such, exposure of that information to identity thieves, that are waiting to prey upon you.
Nikki Van Noy: Okay, it sounds like one of the things we can do first of all is just be more aware of what a threat this actually is and that we are vulnerable, most of us.
Dartanyon Williams: That’s right, absolutely, and one of the things that we can do at first, everybody can contact one of the three major credit bureaus either online or by calling one of their toll-free numbers, and they are Transunion, Equifax, or Experian, put a credit freeze in their credit profile and make it password protected to minimize exposure to identity theft. What happens as a result of that is that before they can retain a new credit account themselves or before any creditor can issue new credit, they would need to verify the identity of the borrower.
Four Types of Identity Theft
Nikki Van Noy: Dartanyon, let’s talk about the four different types of identity theft. I believe you call them the four corners, is that correct?
Dartanyon Williams: Yes ma’am, actually there are more than four types, but these four pillars and posts are the corners in which identity theft exists.
Nikki Van Noy: Let’s go ahead and run listeners through those.
Dartanyon Williams: Well, I will start with childhood identity theft. Now childhood identity theft is not all that new. I mean it has been in the marketplace for the last 13, going on 15 years. Essentially what childhood identity theft is, is children’s–babies’ and kids’–social security numbers without the hyphens. The institute recognizes them in the form of an acronym. They call them CPNs and this acronym can stand or mean one of three things, credit protection number, credit privacy number, or credit profile number, depending on the CPN company organization where you purchased the number.
It is basically the stealing, the purchase, buying, of a child’s social security number that is not active in the system and ascribing it to a common name in an attempt to establish new credit on that kid’s name.
Nikki Van Noy: That’s so creepy.
Dartanyon Williams: And it is an industry within identity theft, in it of itself, and it continues to scale annually based on statistical data and reports.
Nikki Van Noy: So, basically our kids can step into adulthood with a battle that they have to wage before they have even begun to establish credit or exercise any purchasing power whatsoever?
Dartanyon Williams: Absolutely.
Nikki Van Noy: Wow, so what does that mean for parents? Should we be checking our kid’s social security numbers to make sure there is nothing out there? What do we do about that exactly?
Dartanyon Williams: Yes, absolutely. I mean precaution is always better than cure. Parents should do the same for their children as they will do for themselves. And that’s contacting the three major credit bureaus and putting freeze alerts and profile alerts in their children’s profiles for extended periods of time. That way, the children cannot be exploited by CPN companies and the individuals that buy those numbers for the point of exploitation.
Nikki Van Noy: Okay that is a great tip, super simple to do.
Dartanyon Williams: Another type of identity theft is medical identity theft and it is the new scare in healthcare. Medical identity theft is simply stealing the identity of the patient to take advantage of their medical benefits. It happens for both sides of the spectrum, both from the consumer side and the healthcare provider and or professional side. It is not new to us and we read these reports where doctors in violation of HIPAA laws have defaulted Medicaid or Medicare to the tune of millions.
This is merely a repetition of patient information that they already have in the system and calculated measures in terms of stealing and exploiting that patient’s information under the guise of fraudulent billing. Now the consumer acts side of it is when someone steals someone’s medical information and takes advantage of the insurance or the Medicaid or Medicare benefits to receive medical services that they otherwise would not have qualified for.
It is rather easy to do because the system internally is not as integrated as it needs to be and there is a disconnect between dental providers and general physician MDs, and specialists in their systems. We have these in-network, out-of-network insurance companies that have a type of integration going on. But there is still a disconnect and a glitch within a system that’s easily exploited and capitalized. This is why medical identity theft is scaling at an alarming rate. These gaps and glitches and loopholes are what’s driving this particular type of identity theft on an annual basis.
Nikki Van Noy: So, is there anything that we can do about that or is this more of a systemic problem that has to be resolved at higher levels?
Dartanyon Williams: There’s not a whole lot that a consumer can do because you have to disclose your information to your medical services and you are disclosing it to a system that you trust and that you walk away from trusting and believing that you are just as safe or if not perhaps more safe and secure than you were before you walked in the medical facility, and that’s not the case.
So, it is a systemic problem. It has to be resolved by the people, the powers that occupy the system. By the entities that are making billions of dollars off of the consumer patient but are not invested in those profits and that revenue back into protecting and securing that consumer who they make astronomical profits from.
Nikki Van Noy: I don’t know if this is a question that you can answer or not. We are in such an unpredictable time and this may not be related, but do you feel like there’s any chance–it seems to me that in the wake of what’s happening right now with COVID-19, we’re going to have to really get serious about looking at healthcare in a new way. I don’t think there is any way around that, at least I would hope not. Do you feel like this is one of those things that could be a silver lining of what we are going through right now, that maybe things like this will also be analyzed, or is it separate?
Dartanyon Williams: I mean, Nikki, it has to be taken into account and consideration. We are in a defining moment right now. Every shortcoming, every gap, every mishap, every misstep is going to be called and it should be called, into accountability, from a government perspective, from a law enforcement perspective, and from the providers that make us the consumers that we are, the merchants and providers that make us who we are.
A lot is going to be exposed and disclosed to the American populous in terms of the changes that will take place and will continue in those directions of change as a result of the aftermath of having experienced what we are about to experience, and what we have begun to experience on a national level.
Nikki Van Noy: Okay, so we have youth, medical. What is the third big one to talk about here?
Dartanyon Williams: Sure, so the third and I am glad you asked that, the third big one to talk about is what I call suicidal identity theft. Now to give you a brief description and definition of what suicidal identity theft is, it is simply the perpetuation of fraud against one’s self. I documented it in my book, I mean no industry expert or leader in the space of identity theft made the connection, but I knew what was happening.
In 2008 at the time of the great recession, identity theft spiked and peaked in that year. We saw the numbers drop significantly in the succeeding or following year. According to economists and news reports, we are on the verge of another recession.
What happens when people find themselves out of work, no income, their finances strained, they turn to that which is most immediate to them. That is their own resources. They begin to perpetuate fraud against themselves. They establish new accounts with the intent to max them out, in order to report them as fraudulent activity, but they do this as a means of subsistence with the intent of surviving a crisis.
Nikki Van Noy: So, presumably this is something we will probably see an uptick in again, in the coming year.
Dartanyon Williams: Oh absolutely, you are going to see identity theft numbers rise. We are going to see credit card fraud cases and reports rise. We are going to see a lot of fraud in this season. It’s going to be mostly in the space of check fraud rise and increase. We are going to see the numbers off the chart. Because the system is not designed to sustain or to guard against such an influx of fraud at a massive scale.
So, instead of getting this fraud in measures and increments, as is recorded on an annual basis by various institutions, we are going to see numbers that are off the charts–that are doubled or tripled in 2021.
Nikki Van Noy: I wouldn’t have guessed this before this conversation but this sounds like it is such a timely conversation, not that people need anything else to worry about right now and that is not what I am advocating, but just being armed with the knowledge that this is something we can anticipate being on the rise so that we can be on the lookout for it. And hopefully, if something happens, catch it quickly or prevent it in the first place by doing things like putting freezes on and some of the things that you were talking about earlier.
Dartanyon Williams: Yes, ma’am absolutely. It’s inevitable. It’s going to happen, I said it here first Nikki.
Nikki Van Noy: You did. I mean it makes sense. But I think I am probably very indicative of the general public and that it is not something that I would have thought to correlate with this–identity theft is not.
Dartanyon Williams: Absolutely and let me just go on record and say that people don’t have these ill intentions, to begin with. The perpetuation of these frauds is not intentional. They are the last resort when the system when their elected officials do not provide remedy and recourse in a timely matter or so I believe. Otherwise, we are talking about consumers, we are talking about people who will never think to perpetrate such a scam or scheme but hey, if they can get away with it then they are more emboldened and encouraged, if not motivated to at least attempt it.
Nikki Van Noy: And the fourth type of identity theft that we are going to discuss today?
Dartanyon Williams: The fourth type of identity theft is something that admittedly I manufactured and created back in 2003, 2004.
Nikki Van Noy: This is trademarked?
Dartanyon Williams: It is. There is a pending patent. You know that I am ready to introduce, so as to not allow it to scale and go nowhere fast. So, yes ma’am. But this type of identity theft I call it vehicular identity theft. Vehicular identity theft came on the scene around 2013, 2014, but the experts, if you will, their description of it was simply copying the VIN number off of a vehicle and somehow selling it to a chop shop. It just didn’t make a whole lot of sense mathematically.
Then I read in some places that the way in which the vehicle owner should guard against this is that they should take a piece of aluminum foil and put it on the VIN number in their vehicle and then they should be protected. No, ma’am, that is not vehicular identity theft. Vehicular identity theft is so much more sophisticated. So much more convoluted, so much more intricate than that description.
Vehicular identity theft is simply stealing the identity of a vehicle while it is stationed in a place and ascribing it to another vehicle for the purposes of committing multi-faceted crimes, particularly insurance fraud and bank fraud and wire fraud and identity theft in the commission of that particular crime. So, there are a lot of crimes that are happening in the context of vehicular identity theft and it is very simply stealing the identity of a vehicle and ascribing it to another vehicle for the purpose of ultimately committing a string of frauds.
Nikki Van Noy: Okay, wow.
Dartanyon Williams: We’ve seen what grand theft auto was in the movie in which Nicolas Cage stared, Gone in 60 Seconds, but those days are long gone. Then it went from stealing the actual vehicle to identity thieves stealing the vehicle owner’s identity and going to the dealership with replicates of the registration and insurance papers and getting a duplicate key, only to come back and steal that physical vehicle, and that has since evolved and graduated to letting the vehicle stay parked in the garage.
Now they go steal the identity of it. We are going to put it in a different system and exploit it in such a way, just as long as we have the skeleton, which is all the documents, we can get proof on the surface that the vehicle does exist.
Nikki Van Noy: It makes my brain twist just thinking about that and what it would entail.
Dartanyon Williams: Yes, I would give a hint here but in an effort not to go into too much detail because I don’t want a listener to get motivated.
Nikki Van Noy: Right.
Dartanyon Williams: See there are a lot of online VIN numbers to any type of vehicle that you want. These VIN numbers are not registered with any office of motor vehicles or insurance companies. Because they are not registered in either one of those systems, that makes that VIN number readily and immediately available for use in the commission of vehicular identity theft. That is about as far as I would go with this Nikki.
Nikki Van Noy: Yeah totally that makes sense, though. I like how you described it as motivated.
Dartanyon Williams: Yes ma’am, our guardians and keepers within the system are going into this so distracted by trying to manage and mitigate this COVID-19 pandemic. A lot of divided attention that otherwise would have been given to the systems and other topics of these issues is going to put a strain and something has to give. In the space of fraud, there is going to be massive exploitation to come.
I founded Duck Pond Technologies Inc.–Duck Pond named after the rural area just outside the city limits of St. Joseph, where I retreated with my parents’ credentials to devise my initial schemes and their scams. So, I went back to Duck Pond to find the remedy and solution to the crimes that I once used Duck Pond to perpetuate and commit. It is this company that I am celebrating with you here on this podcast today, Miss Nikki.
As of March 10th of this year, I filed 10 unique patents via the wise counsel of Manning, Morris, and Martin out of Atlanta, Georgia to introduce and implement technology that I think will go a long way in keeping us protected as consumers, as merchants, as the general population.
Nikki Van Noy: Dartanyon, what do you anticipate with this? Do you have any sense of a timeframe when this might be available or is that all unfolding at this point?
Dartanyon Williams: We have anticipated and projected launch dates as early as October 24, 2021. So, there is a development period, there is a beta testing period, and there is an end of rotation period and all of that stuff is happening simultaneously. For the last year, I was also developing or rather designing the technology as the story unfold. As I got into those dark places in which I had to escape to and re-engage criminality, a mentality that I once carried, I carry with me a flashlight, so that I may see the solution at the end of the tunnel while being in that space.
Nikki Van Noy: I love that description.
Dartanyon Williams: Yeah, we are looking to bring these technologies to market as early as 10-24-21, October 24th, 2021, and I’ll say it right here, right now Miss Nikki, credit card fraud as we know it, will be no more once sim-pin data code technology hits off. I am going to make it impossible for credit card fraud to ever be committed again.
Nikki Van Noy: That is a big promise.
Dartanyon Williams: I am guaranteeing it right here.
Nikki Van Noy: Wow, all right folks you heard it here first. Dartanyon, this is amazing. You know I talk to people pretty frequently who have fascinating stories and people who have a lot of information to share but you really are just this perfect marriage of both of these things together and the information you are sharing is relevant to all of us.
Dartanyon Williams: Let me just say it wasn’t intentional. A lot of circumstances, a whole lot of poor decision making, and some very unique events have brought about this the way which it has.
Nikki Van Noy: Yeah but you have turned it around certainly. There was decision making at play here but it’s impressive how you have turned this entirely around. The last thing I want to ask you is–and I don’t mean to project anything on you but I am curious, because of where you’ve come from and how you got here, is there any sense to you of somehow righting wrongs by writing this book and putting this information out there for people to understand?
Dartanyon Williams: Yes, absolutely. Some of it is the fruit of my redemption, absolutely. I am glad you asked that question, which leads us to the appendices of my book. In this book, I have written in my own accord without engaging in any research or reference materials such as existent laws or any state or federal level, I have written 50 legislative proposals that are designed to detect, detain, and detour identity theft, from suicidal identity theft to children identity theft to medical identity theft to income tax identity theft to vehicular identity theft to illegal gun purchases in the 50 legislative proposals.
On top of that, I have designed and I am in the process of developing ten pending patents in the space of payment card fraud, check fraud, identity theft, vehicular identity theft, and all things fraud, for that matter as of March 10, in fact, those unique patents were filed by Morris, Manning & Martin of Atlanta. I am celebrating that by participating in this podcast.
Nikki Van Noy: Very nice, I am glad we could celebrate together and I love that you are taking action against the holes you saw in the system that you were able to exploit. That is so wonderfully full circle.
Dartanyon Williams: Yes ma’am. So, that is what we’re doing. We are out there. Like I said before, I am in the ditches. I am in the trenches, I am ready to get engaged. I am willing to come to and fro wherever, church, organizations, financial institutions. So, it is not to necessarily share my story, it is always good to hear the foundation and the backstory. But more so educate for the purpose of advancing and accelerating their education in the form of the consumer possessing a working knowledge and taking preventive and proactive steps and measures to safeguard themselves and their loved ones.
Nikki Van Noy: Well, I think that all of this information certainly packs a heavy punch hearing it from somebody like you. So again, the book is The Master Identity Thief and I am joined by author Dartanyon Williams.
Dartanyon, is there anywhere else that listeners can go to find you?
Dartanyon Williams: Absolutely, so if anyone wants to get in touch with me they can find me all over social media. You can find me on the book’s website, themasteridentitythief.com. You can find me on my personal website, dartanyonawilliams.com. You can find me on Instagram @dw.ceo or you can find me again on Instagram @dw.4us2. You can find me on Twitter @a_dartanyon or you can also find me on Twitter again @dw4us2. You can find me on Facebook at Dartanyon A. Williams straight up, and you can find me on LinkedIn @dw-duckpond.
Nikki Van Noy: Awesome, you’re everywhere.
Dartanyon Williams: I try to be. You have to be everywhere if you are going to make a significant and aggressive advancement against it.
Nikki Van Noy: Yeah, that makes perfect sense. Dartanyon, such a pleasure. Thank you so much for joining us today.
Dartanyon Williams: Yes ma’am, well thank you for having me and I am looking forward to next time.
Nikki Van Noy: Absolutely.