If the Fed chairman can have his ID stolen…by Tim Manni
You may have read that Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke recently had his identity stolen:
If ever there were living proof that identity theft can strike the mighty and powerful as well as hapless consumers, look no further than the nation’s chief banker: Ben Bernanke. The Federal Reserve Board chairman was one of hundreds of victims of an elaborate identity-fraud ring, headed by a convicted scam artist known as “Big Head,” that stole more than $2.1 million from unsuspecting consumers and at least 10 financial institutions around the country, according to recently filed court records reviewed by NEWSWEEK.
Ironically, it wasn’t because he was careless online or due to some hacker activity. No, this one was done old school:
Last summer, just as he was dealing with the first rumblings of the financial crisis on Wall Street, Bernanke learned that a thief had swiped his wife’s purse — including the couple’s joint check book. Days later, someone started cashing checks on the Bernanke family bank account, the documents show. “It’s fair to say he was not pleased,” said one close associate of Bernanke, who asked not to be identified discussing what the Fed chairman considers a private matter.
Anyone who’s been a victim of identity theft knows that it can be a real nightmare. A lot of it is committed by national, as well as international, crime rings which steal tens of billions of dollars in cash, goods, and services — every year. (The FTC puts US losses alone at $50 billion.)
It’s worth reminding our readers that there’s plenty of advice (including from Uncle Sam) on taking steps to prevent it.
The Dolans offer lots of everyday common-sense advice, too, including:
* Shred any and all solicitations you receive — not just credit card bills and personal papers.
* Watch carefully when you hand your credit card to anyone — and examine the receipt carefully.
* Examine every credit-card bill with a fine-tooth comb.