FinCEN: Fraud & Terrorist Financing Reports Rise

June 28, 2010

Although the number of suspicious activity reports (SAR) filed by financial institutions declined from 1.29 million in 2008 to 1.28 million in 2009, reports of suspected fraud and terrorist financing grew.

That’s according to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network’s (FinCEN) its 14th edition of the SAR Activity Review By the Numbers, which covers suspicious activity reports (SARs) filed in 2009.

This is the first time since 1996 that the total number of SARs filed declined over a one-year period. SARs filed by depository institutions declined for the first time from 732,563 in 2008 to 720,309 in 2009.

SARs filed by depository institutions indicating terrorist financing increased 8% in 2009, the first such increase since 2004. Depository institution filers submitted 545 SARs indicating terrorist financing in 2009 and 4,914 terrorist financing SARs since July 2003 when this characterization was added.

Reports of suspected computer intrusion and counterfeit checks showed double-digit increases from the previous 12 months, increasing 52% percent and 12%, respectively.

Other changes from 2008 to 2009:

  • SARs identifying mortgage loan fraud rose 4%;
  • Suspected incidents of credit card fraud grew 5%;
  • SARs filed by securities and futures firms indicating check fraud increased 15%;
  • SARs indicating wire fraud jumped 39%;
  • SARs identifying mail fraud grew 23%;
  • SARs indicating consumer loan fraud fell 31%; and
  • SARs citing check kiting dropped 23%

On the flip side, the number of reports indicating consumer loan fraud fell 31% Fraud reports There were some areas where the reported incidence of suspected fraud fell in 2009.