Last year, Ben Bernanke's wife, Anna, had her purse stolen from a Starbucks shop in Washington. The bag carried her checkbook, some credit cards, and her I.D.'s. Naturally, she canceled her credit cards as anyone would do, and everything seemed to actually turn out fine. But the next week, the thief, using her I.D. cards to steal her identity, cashed a check from her into a private account. It was for $900, an amount carefully selected to avoid detection. After all, Bernanke has quite a few larger numbers to worry about. But little did the thief know, the powerful, recently reappointed Fed chair is a frugal dude, and at the time of his first confirmation, he had less than $5 million on the books, largely tied up in retirement plans. So when $900 went missing, the former Princeton professor immediately noticed. He carefully alerted the authorities — as he advises Americans to do in his professional capacity — and their rapid response helped bring down a much larger identity-theft ring. Also, he and his wife didn't end up losing any money. Let this be a lesson to you! Always carry clutches so small they can't hold your checkbooks and your I.D. Other than that, there's nothing to learn from this story.
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