WASHINGTON -- The Secret Service is charged with watching the president's back, but who's watching his wallet?
When his credit card was declined last month while dining in New York, President Barack Obama wondered if he had become a victim of identity theft.
"It turned out, I guess I don't use it enough," Mr. Obama said Friday at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
"They thought there was some fraud going on," he said, chatting while announcing a government plan to tighten security for debit cards that transfer federal benefits like Social Security to millions of Americans.
"I was trying to explain to the waitress 'No, I really think that I've been paying my bills.'"
Fortunately, first lady Michelle Obama was able to whip out a credit card they could use.
Identity theft is a growing problem and an estimated 100 million people have been affected by security breaches in the past year at retailers like Target and Home Depot.
"Even I'm affected by this," he said.
Employees at Estela, the New York restaurant where Obama dined on Sept. 24 while attending the U.N. General Assembly, said they couldn't discuss the credit card issue.
Photos of the president's order had been posted on the restaurant's Instagram page but have since been taken down. The food blog, Epicurius, captured the images and detailed the order in a Sept. 25 post, saying the first couple ate "two orders of endive salad and burrata with salsa verde, tomatoes, and salt cod croquettes."
President Obama signed an executive order on Friday designed to increase Americans' financial security and strengthen protections against identity theft.
The new "BuySecure" initiative is an attempt to expedite the transition away from debit and credit cards with magnetic strips, a dated technology that's more vulnerable to intrusion, and toward cards with microchips and PIN numbers, which are considered more secure.