Identity theft a wake-up call for rookie

By Mike Berardino
Updated: July 1, 2009

Vontae DavisPALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — Vontae Davis didn’t need this NFL Rookie Symposium to help him understand the dangers of identity theft.

The Dolphins’ first-round draft pick experienced that nightmare firsthand when an impostor, apparently using an invalid driver’s license that had been stolen from Davis months earlier, presented that fake identification to a Champaign, Ill., police officer during a routine traffic stop June 9.

Two weeks later, Davis’ name was briefly splashed across news reports that made it look like he was the one arrested instead of the impostor. Davis and the Dolphins maintain he was actually in South Florida at the time of the arrest.

“We talk about this stuff every week in our player development meetings [with the Dolphins],” Davis, a cornerback from the University of Illinois, said during a break in Tuesday’s youth football clinic at PGA National. “To actually see it happen to you, you’re like, ‘Wow.’ It wakes you up, like this stuff is serious. It’s really serious.”

Davis said he had not heard from the Champaign Police Department since it issued a statement last week saying it was putting his case on hold until it could complete an internal investigation.

“They’re still investigating,” Davis said, “actually trying to find my old license.”

Dolphins security chief Stu Weinstein continues to conduct an investigation for the team, but Davis, who canceled his credit and bank cards at the time of the original theft, is hopeful his old license hasn’t been used for any other purpose.

“That’s a situation they’re working on,” Davis said. “The police are investigating, and Stu is trying to figure [it] out. It’s a good situation because it’s an invalid license, so they figure it wouldn’t work anywhere else but the situation that happened.”

Davis remained his typical gregarious self at Tuesday’s session, during which he patiently addressed his non-arrest with reporters for the first time in a public setting since the news hit one week earlier.

Davis, one of 256 recent draftees attending the multiple-day program, vowed the misunderstanding won’t change him or his personality.

“It won’t change me because I handled it the correct way,” he said. “I could have done something that would have made it worse than it was. I handled it. I talked to my security guy and they fixed it.”

Davis said he wasn’t aware of the strange case of “Lambo_weezy,” in which another impostor used to fool more than 1,200 followers into thinking he was Dolphins receiver Davone Bess. However, Davis said he sympathized with his teammate, who is considering legal action against the fraudulent “tweeter.”

“Being in the National Football League, there’s a target on everybody’s back,” Davis said. “Everywhere you go you just have to know people are watching. Davone Bess’ situation, he can’t control that. That’s stuff that happens. You can’t control something like that when someone twitters.”