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June 23, 2010
CONTACT: Steve Hudak,

FinCEN Releases 14th SAR Activity Review-By the Numbers
Total Filings Fall but Fraud and Terrorist Financing Reports Grow

VIENNA, Va. – The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) today released its 14th edition of the SAR Activity Review – By the Numbers, which covers suspicious activity reports (SARs) filed in 2009. The report shows that the total number of all SARs filed by financial institutions declined from 1.29 million in 2008 to 1.28 million in 2009. This is the first time since 1996 that the total number of SARs filed declined over a one-year period. SARs filed by depository institutions declined for the first time from 732,563 in 2008 to 720,309 in 2009.

SARs reporting suspicious activity characterized as fraud and those reporting suspected terrorist financing activity grew in 2009. The report shows that SARs indicating terrorist financing filed by depository institutions increased 8 percent in 2009, making it the first such increase since 2004. Depository institution filers submitted 545 SARs indicating terrorist financing in 2009 and 4,914 total terrorist financing SARs since July 2003 when this characterization was added to the SAR.

Reports of the categories of suspected Computer Intrusion, and Counterfeit Check showed double-digit increases from the previous twelve months of reporting, increasing respectively 52 percent and 12 percent.

Other changes where fraud was identified include:

In all, 27 percent of the suspicious activity reported by depository institutions in 2009 was attributed to suspected fraud-related activities including check fraud, commercial loan fraud, consumer loan fraud, credit card fraud, debit card fraud, mortgage loan fraud, and wire transfer fraud. Mortgage loan fraud and check fraud remain the only two SAR characterizations that have experienced an increase every year since 1996.

There were some areas where the reported incidence of suspected fraud fell in 2009.


FinCEN’s mission is to enhance U.S. national security, deter and detect criminal activity, and safeguard financial systems from abuse by promoting transparency in the U.S. and international financial systems.