Former ID Thief Shares Tips on How to Protect Yourself
By Herb Weisbaum, January 13, 2018

If you want to know how identity theft works – and how you can protect yourself – you need to talk to an identity thief.

Few people know more about this crime than Brett Shannon Johnson, a convicted identity thief who was once on the US Secret Service’s Most Wanted list. Johnson made millions developing online fraud techniques and creating two major online crime syndicates, before getting busted (several times) and spending more than six years behind bars.

He went by the nickname Gollumfun and the Secret Service dubbed him the “Original Internet Godfather.”

Now 47, Johnson lives in Alabama. He says he’s sorry for what he did and claims he’s turned legit. His consulting company, AnglerPhish Security, specializes in fighting the crimes he helped perfect.

Johnson talked to me about his crime spree and shared his insight into the criminal mind for a story on identity theft for NBC News. Here are the highlights of our conversations.

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