Fed chairman hit by ID thieves

22 charges after hundreds are hit by pickpocket-allied fraudsters


The US Federal Reserve Board chairman has become the latest high-profile public figure to fall victim to identity theft.

Ben Bernanke, whose day job leaves him in charge of the US money supply, became the victim of fraud after a pick pocket stole his wife's handbag from a Starbucks shop in Washington's Eastern Market. Credit cards, cheque books, cash and a driver's license were taken as a result.

This information was used to pass fraudulent cheques in Bernanke's name. Despite his status in the banking industry, no immediate alarm bells appear to have rung. The fraud was eventually detected and linked to a wider bank fraud racket that led to the indictment of 22 suspects earlier this week. Mail theft, pickpocketing and corrupt insiders were all allegedly used by the gang in order to build up profiles on prospective marks before establishing fraudulent lines of credit.

Bernanke, via a spokesman at the Federal Reserve, commented on the ID theft, telling CNN: "Our family was but one of 500 separate instances traced to one crime ring."

Public figures, despite their notoriety, are by no means immune to ID theft. Our favorite example in this category is an attempt by fraudsters to impersonate French president Nicolas Sarkozy. Stolen payment card details in Sarkozy's name were reportedly used to make mobile phone subscription payments. Six people, including workers at a mobile phone store, were arrested over the alleged scam in October. ®

Similar topics

Broader topics

Narrower topics


Other stories you might like

  • Interpol anti-fraud operation busts call centers behind business email scams
    1,770 premises raided, 2,000 arrested, $50m seized

    Law enforcement agencies around the world have arrested about 2,000 people and seized $50 million in a sweeping operation crackdown of social engineering and other scam operations around the globe.

    In the latest action in the ongoing "First Light", an operation Interpol has coordinated annually since 2014, law enforcement officials from 76 countries raided 1,770 call centers suspected of running fraudulent operations such as telephone and romance scams, email deception scams, and financial crimes.

    Among the 2,000 people arrested in Operation First Light 2022 were call center operators and fraudsters, and money launderers. Interpol stated that the operation also saw 4,000 bank accounts frozen and 3,000 suspects identified.

    Continue reading
  • Cloud services proving handy for cybercriminals, SANS Institute warns
    Flying horses, gonna pwn me away...

    RSA Conference Living off the land is so 2021. These days, cybercriminals are living off the cloud, according to Katie Nickels, director of intelligence for Red Canary and a SANS Certified Instructor.

    "It's not enough to pay attention to the operating systems, the endpoints, said Nickels, speaking on a SANS Institute panel about the most dangerous new attack techniques at RSA Conference. "Adversaries, a lot of their intrusions, are using cloud services of different types."  

    And yes, living off the land (or the cloud), in which intruders use legitimate software and cloud services to deploy malware or spy on corporations and other nefarious activities, isn't a new type of attack, Nickels admitted. "But what's new here is the levels to which using cloud services [for cyberattacks] has risen." 

    Continue reading
  • Microsoft seizes 41 domains tied to 'Iranian phishing ring'
    Windows giant gets court order to take over dot-coms and more

    Microsoft has obtained a court order to seize 41 domains used by what the Windows giant said was an Iranian cybercrime group that ran a spear-phishing operation targeting organizations in the US, Middle East, and India. 

    The Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit said the gang, dubbed Bohrium, took a particular interest in those working in technology, transportation, government, and education sectors: its members would pretend to be job recruiters to lure marks into running malware on their PCs.

    "Bohrium actors create fake social media profiles, often posing as recruiters," said Amy Hogan-Burney, GM of Microsoft's Digital Crimes Unit. "Once personal information was obtained from the victims, Bohrium sent malicious emails with links that ultimately infected their target's computers with malware."

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022