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Suspected ID Theft & SARs

We had an individual come in to open a savings account that was hispanic and had a matricula consular id. He also gave us a social security number. When we checked the SS# was registered to a woman in California. We asked him to show us his SS card. He said it was at home and he would go get it. He never returned. ID theft maybe. Suspicious yes. Over any $$ reporting thresholds on a SAR, no. Should a SAR be filed and why if it is below $5,000?

Answer by John Burnett:

If you believe this person was involved in an identity theft, you may file a SAR even if your bank experienced no loss and witnessed no actual monetary fraud. Filing on amounts under $5,000 is permissive.

You might also consider notifying law enforcement directly. If this person attempted to use the bogus SSN at your bank, it's likely it will happen again somewhere else.


Answer by Lucy Griffin:

At ABA's recent Anti-Money Laundering Enforcement conference, several law enforcement types urged banks to file SARS, regardless of amounts, if they involve identity theft, fraud scams, or terrorism. All information on these topics is helpful. I also agree with John that making a phone call to the appropriate law enforcement agency might be a good idea.

First published on 2/17/03

First published on 02/17/2003

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