Latest News from FinCEN

July 31, 2020

Keeping on top of the latest advisories and guidances from FinCEN. This blog will update with any new information from the regulator as it becomes available.

July 31, 2020 Advisory

FinCEN issued an advisory July 31 to alert financial institutions to potential indicators of cybercrime and cyber-enabled crime observed during the COVID-19 pandemic. The advisory contains descriptions of COVID-19-related malicious cyber activity and scams, associated financial red flag indicators, and information on reporting suspicious activity.

FinCEN said it issued the advisory based on data collected through the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) and other intelligence sources.

The agency said cybercriminals and malicious actors are increasingly exploiting the COVID-19 pandemic through malware and phishing schemes, extortion, business email compromise (BEC) fraud, and exploitation of remote applications, especially against financial and healthcare systems. See the advisory for a list of red flags and advice.

Read the advisory here.

July 16, 2020 Advisory

FinCEN warns Financial Institutions of high-profile Twitter scam.

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) is warning FIs of a high-profile scam that exploits Twitter accounts to solicit fraudulent payments denominated in convertible virtual currency (CVC).

Cyber threat actors have compromised the accounts of public figures, organizations, and financial institutions to solicit payments to CVC accounts, claiming that any CVC sent to a wallet address would be doubled and returned to the sender.

It is critical that CVC exchanges and other financial institutions identify and report suspicious transactions associated with this type of activity as quickly as possible.

Read the July 16 alert here.

July 7, 2020 Advisory

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued a new advisory July 7 to alert financial institutions to potential indicators of imposter scams and money mule schemes, which are prevalent during the COVID-19 pandemic.

FinCEN’s advisory contains descriptions of the schemes, financial red flag indicators for both, and information on reporting suspicious activity.

Imposter scams have criminals impersonating organizations such as governments or charities to offer services or otherwise defraud consumers.

Money mule schemes can either be with unwitting money mules, or those where a person is complicit in illegal activities.

The full advisory is intended to aid financial institutions in detecting, preventing, and reporting potential COVID19-related criminal activity.

This advisory is based on FinCEN’s analysis of COVID-19-related information obtained from Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) data, open source reporting, and law enforcement partners.

Read full July 7 2020 advisory here.

May 18, 2020 Advisory

FinCEN issued an advisory that contains red flags, descriptions of COVID-19-related medical scams, case studies, and information on reporting suspicious activity.

Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) data, as well as information from other federal agencies, foreign government partners, and public sources indicate possible illicit activities related to the coronavirus pandemic regarding fraudulent cures, tests, vaccines, and services; non-delivery scams; and price gouging and hoarding of medical-related items, such as face masks and hand sanitizer.

Some of these red flags are common indicators of fraudulent merchant activity committed by shell or fraudulent retail or wholesale business operators. Additionally, some of the red flag indicators outlined below may apply to multiple COVID-19-related fraudulent activities.

SAR filing instructions

FinCEN also addressed some changes it has seen in SAR filings in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Some financial institutions have added COVID-19 statements to their disclaimers or are using SAR narratives to address COVID-19’s impact on their SAR filing abilities.

Financial institutions should not include in the SAR narrative their challenges during the pandemic; the SAR narrative should include COVID-19 when it is tied to suspicious activity only.

FinCEN goes on to say that filers who have already included references to COVID-19 in matters not related to the pandemic do not need to file corrected reports.

Read full May 18, 2020 advisory here.

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