Frequently asked questions
What triggers a suspicious activity report?
Financial institutions should file Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) whenever they notice any activity that’s out of the ordinary — for example, if an individual does something that makes it look like they’re trying to hide something or make an illegal transaction. Institutions don’t necessarily need proof a crime has occurred to file a report.
When must a SAR report be filed?
Financial institutions must file a SAR within 30 days of noticing any activity that may indicate money laundering or fraud. If needed, financial institutions can get an extension of up to 60 more days to collect more evidence.
What happens when a SAR is filed?
Once a financial institution files a SAR, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) will investigate the incident.
What constitutes suspicious activity?
In the context of Suspicious Activity Reports, “suspicious activity” includes any activity that’s out of the ordinary. For example, financial institutions should file a report if they suspect someone of engaging in insider trading activity or notice someone operating an unlicensed money services business (MSB). Other examples include bulk cash transactions, a ton of activity in a short period of time, and large numbers of wire transfers.