How to buy a New Identity Illegally

by | Aug 11, 2022 | creating a new identity, New Identity | 1 comment

I’m Not Who You Think I Am: Starting a New Identity in New York



In the sprawling urban jungle of New York City, it’s not uncommon for people to reinvent themselves.


This reinvention can range from simple name changes to entirely new identities. For some, it’s a matter of escaping past mistakes, bad credit, or legal troubles. For others, it’s about beginning anew, free from old ties and histories.

Why Start Over with a New Identity?

Take Christopher Robin, for example. Despite being a millionaire real estate mogul with a luxurious lifestyle, he was saddled with bad credit. To escape this financial pitfall, Robin decided to purchase a new identity from an AIDS patient nearing the end of his life.

Robin (a pseudonym for privacy reasons) is one of many New Yorkers who have chosen to shed their pasts and start fresh under new names. “If you are willing to pay for the last years of a man’s life who has a terminal illness, you can just take over his identity,” Robin explains. For a price of $10,000 to $15,000, he could acquire a new name and the associated benefits.

The Mechanics of Acquiring a New Identity

The Purchase of a New Name

Buying a name from someone near death is one way to forge a new identity. This process involves more than just assuming a new name; it requires a detailed backstory and valid documents to support the change. As Robin elaborates, “Almost anyone can make their program to protect witnesses if they have some money, a new birth certificate, driver’s license, Social Security number, and passport.”

DIY Witness Protection Programs

People with money can essentially create their witness protection program. Teenagers use fake IDs to buy alcohol and use them to find work, con artists use them to forge checks and defraud welfare agencies, and fugitives use them to evade law enforcement.

Experts agree that New York is a prime location for such reinventions due to its anonymity and size. Former homicide detective Bo Dietl, now head of the city’s largest private investigative firm, notes, “New York is great for people who want to stay anonymous because they can come and go without anyone knowing.”

The Backstory: Christopher Lynch to Christopher Robin

Early Life and Initial Identity Changes

Christopher Lynch, the man behind the pseudonym Christopher Robin, was born in Manhattan in 1952 to wealthy parents. After a bitter divorce at age seven, his mother took custody and changed his surname to her maiden name, Raven.

As a teenager, following his father’s death, Lynch reverted to using his father’s surname as a mark of respect. However, after a costly and acrimonious divorce in his 30s, Lynch sought to escape his financial and emotional baggage by adopting a new identity.

Creating a New Identity with Legal Assistance

With the help of a lawyer, Lynch became Christopher Robin. The lawyer opened bank accounts and credit cards in Robin’s name. After a few months of mail addressed to Robin, Lynch secured a Social Security number and a driver’s license under his new identity. “You can use any name you want,” Robin/Lynch/Raven says. “Just pay your taxes and debts you owe, and you won’t cheat anyone.”

The Role of the Government in Identity Changes

Official Assistance in Witness Protection

The government has helped criminals start new lives after becoming informants for decades. The exact details of these disappearances are closely guarded. However, for everyday people, obtaining a new identity involves more old-fashioned methods like “paper tripping,” which consists in finding the grave of someone born around the same time and assuming their identity.

Legal Documents and the Importance of a Passport

The process typically begins with obtaining a birth certificate and then applying for a Social Security number and a driver’s license. A U.S. passport is considered the ultimate new ID. “There is no way to link all of these documents together,” says Dietl. This disjointed system often results in individuals holding multiple Social Security cards and other forms of ID under different names.

Challenges and Modern Fraud Prevention

Lovell Brigham, a spokeswoman for the Social Security Administration, notes that getting a fake Social Security number is not as easy as it once was. Over 86% of the agency’s criminal convictions in 2020 were related to Social Security number fraud.

Replacement cards are now printed on specialized paper to prevent counterfeiting. Despite these measures, the rise of computer technology has made it easier for determined individuals to create convincing fake documents.

The Digital Age and New Identity Creation

Online Services and Global Reach

A search of the internet reveals companies like Global Money Consultants of Greece, which promise to help clients erase their past and start a new “tax-free” life. Elite International Services of Canada goes even further, claiming it can secure diplomatic appointments for its clients.

While appealing, these services often fail to deliver lasting solutions. “Taking on a new identity sounds easy and can be done without too much trouble, but it would be hard to make it last,” cautions Kevin Farrell, chief of detectives for the NYPD in Manhattan.

The Influence of Literature

The numerous how-to books on the subject reflect the popularity of identity change. One such book, “How to Create a New Identity,” is a top seller at Barnes & Noble. These books provide step-by-step guides for assuming new identities, though the practical success of these methods can be dubious.

Case Studies: Living with a New Identity

Aubrey Cox

Aubrey Cox, who lived as Curtis Brown for over 40 years, was eventually found in Harlem. In 1956, Cox escaped a Virginia chain gang and settled in New York under his new name.

Even his wife, whom he married two years after his escape, was unaware of his true identity. The police tracked Cox by following his disability checks, illustrating how modern technology can uncover even long-hidden identities.

Maurice O’Mahoney

In 1974, Maurice O’Mahoney, a bank robber, turned informant and was given a new identity. Despite his new life, O’Mahoney, now Peter Davies, found adapting challenging.

He took a job as a security guard at significant events but eventually ended up back in the news when he was arrested for robbery. He claimed the police had set him up, and he was found not guilty.

The Psychological Toll of a New Identity

Struggles with Isolation and Secrecy

Living with a new identity takes a significant psychological toll. Individuals must constantly monitor their behaviour and speech to avoid revealing their past. This can lead to feelings of isolation, as they cannot form deep connections with new acquaintances. The constant fear of being discovered adds to the stress, challenging the new identity.

Familial Challenges

Family ties can complicate the maintenance of a new identity. For example, Darren Nicholls, an informant who testified against criminals in Essex, struggled with his new identity because his young son couldn’t understand why they had to change their names and lives. Nicholls’ experience highlights the emotional difficulties of living with a new identity, mainly when it affects loved ones.

The Role of Media and Public Curiosity

Media Exposure

The media plays a significant role in uncovering new identities. Even with legal protections, individuals can be exposed through persistent journalistic efforts. The case of Mary Bell, a notorious child killer, illustrates this point. Despite legal efforts to protect her and her daughter’s identities, the media eventually revealed her new life.

Public Interest

Public curiosity and the allure of financial gain can lead to the exposure of new identities. In Britain, the culture of “snitching” and selling information to tabloids complicates maintaining a new identity. This environment makes it challenging for individuals to remain hidden, as someone is always willing to reveal their secrets for a price.

Practical Steps for Creating and Maintaining a New Identity

Legal Strategies
  1. Injunctions and Legal Protections: Seek legal protections, such as injunctions, to prevent the publication of your new identity. These legal measures can provide some level of security, although they are not foolproof.
  2. Regular Legal Advice: Regular consultations with legal experts can help navigate the complexities of maintaining a new identity and adapting to any law changes that might affect your status.
Practical Measures
  1. Digital Hygiene: Maintain rigorous digital hygiene by minimizing your online presence and using secure, encrypted communication methods. Avoid social media and online platforms that require personal information.
  2. Consistent Backstory: Develop and consistently maintain a detailed backstory. Ensure all documentation supports this narrative and rehearse it until it becomes second nature.
  3. Relocation and Integration: Choose locations where you can blend in easily. Big cities often provide anonymity due to their large populations, but small, close-knit communities can also be effective if you integrate seamlessly and avoid drawing attention.

Government Assistance and the Witness Protection Program

Official Support

Governments sometimes assist individuals needing new identities, especially those in witness protection programs. This assistance includes creating new documents, providing financial support, and offering guidance on maintaining the new identity. However, this support can have challenges, such as restrictions on movement and activities to ensure safety.

The Complexity of Witness Protection

Living under witness protection involves adhering to strict rules and guidelines to ensure safety. Individuals must avoid contact with anyone from their past and follow a carefully constructed backstory. The psychological strain of living a lie and the fear of being discovered can be overwhelming.

The Future of Identity Change

Technological Advances

As technology evolves, the methods for creating and maintaining a new identity will also change. Biometric identification, digital footprints, and advanced surveillance make it increasingly difficult to assume a new identity. Future methods will likely involve more sophisticated techniques and reliance on technology to create convincing new personas.

Legal and Ethical Considerations

The legal and ethical implications of changing one’s identity will continue to be debated. Governments must balance the need for security and justice with the rights of individuals seeking new lives. Legal frameworks must evolve to address these challenges, ensuring individuals can safely and legally start anew when necessary.


Starting over with a new identity in New York, or anywhere else, is a complex process fraught with psychological, practical, and legal challenges. While it offers the allure of a fresh start, the reality is much more demanding.

The stories of Christopher Robin, Aubrey Cox, and Maurice O’Mahoney highlight the difficulties and potential pitfalls of maintaining a new identity.

The challenges are even more significant in today’s digital age, requiring meticulous planning, rigorous digital hygiene, and, sometimes, government assistance. As society continues to evolve, so will the strategies and challenges associated with living under a new identity.

Despite the difficulties, the possibility of creating a new life remains a compelling, albeit challenging, prospect for those determined to start anew.

If you would like to work with a professional team that can help make your transition to a life of freedom, contact Amicus Int. for New Identity services today.