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CU System
Check Fraud, Mortgages Top SAR Filings
WASHINGTON (6/26/13)--Check frauds and mortgage loan frauds are at the top of Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) filed into the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) database during 2012, but mortgage loan fraud dipped significantly, according to numbers released last month by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network's (FinCEN).

More than 1,582 million SARs were filed, an increase of 4% over 2011's reports, said  FinCEN's SAR Activity Review--By The Numbers. The number of legacy depository institution SARs rose roughly 8% in 2012, while non-depository institutions' reports decreased 13%. Non-depository institutions accounted for 42% of all reports filed, down 5% from 2011.

SARs filed by depository institutions totaled 860,858 last year, compared to 798,688 in 2011 and 288,343 reports in 2003.

Fraud-related activities--check,  commercial loan, consumer loan, credit card, debit card, mortgage loan and wire transfer fraud--accounted for 23% of the reports from depository institutions in 2012--a modest decrease, said FinCEN.  However, SARs in two of the seven fraud types--mortgage loan fraud and commercial loan fraud--decreased.

The most dramatic change was in the number of SARs filed for mortgage loan frauds.  This type of SAR dropped 29% in 2012--to 65,819, compared with 92,563 in 2011. Until 2012, mortgage loan fraud was the only summary characterization that had experienced an increase every year since 1996, with the past three years accounting for nearly 46% of all instances noted for this activity in the past decade, said FinCEN.

Commercial loan frauds also decreased--by 19%--to 2,381. In 2011, the category counted 2,945 SARs.

Although other payment systems are overtaking checks in the financial marketplace, check fraud SARs rose 6% in 2012--to 75,319. That gives check fraud the highest number of SARs last year. The total is up from 71,020 in 2011.

Consumer loan fraud, the third highest SAR category, rose 20% to 38,897 SARs, while credit card fraud rose 11% to 37,283 reports. Wire transfer fraud rose 34%--to 20,835, and debit card fraud rose 14% to 7,142.

For the full report, use the link.
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