WASHINGTON (1/7/11)--The total number of suspicious activity reports (SARs), as well as the number of mortgage fraud-related SARs filed, increased by 2% during the third quarter of 2010, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) reported this week. Mortgage related SARs totaled 16,693 during the quarter, with overall SARs totaling 175,717 during the same time period. The number of SARs filed during the first six months of 2010 decreased by 9% when compared with numbers recorded during the same time period of 2009. Borrowers were responsible for over half of the reported instances of mortgage fraud, and more than 80% of the mortgage-related SARs involved less than $500,000 in funds. FinCEN Director James Freis said that the FinCEN report, which contains new information on SARs based on the locations of the scams and types of scams, “serves as another tool to fight scammers and mortgage fraud.” In addition to the mortgage fraud cases, the report also notes instances of check fraud, commercial loan fraud, consumer loan fraud, credit card fraud, debit card fraud, and wire transfer fraud. California and Florida had the highest number of SARs, according to the report. For the full FinCEN report, use the resource link.