On February 27, 2023, FinCEN issued an alert pertaining to a surge in U.S. mail theft-related check fraud. Fraud schemes related to this issue have been on the rise since the COVID-19 pandemic first began; FinCEN notes that 280,000 check fraud SARs were filed in 2020, 350,000 in 2021, and 680,000 in 2022. Business checks may be more valuable because business accounts are often well-funded and it may take longer for the victim to notice the fraud. Fraudsters may deposit or cash these checks in a variety of ways but ATMs, remote deposit, or the use of money mules are more vulnerable to this type of illicit activity. The alert also includes a list of red flags and a reminder that financial institutions can assist FinCEN in their efforts to stop this activity by including the key term “FIN-2023- MAILTHEFT” in SAR field 2 (“Filing Institution Note to FinCEN”) and in the SAR narrative.
In addition to filing a SAR, as applicable, FinCEN is urging financial institutions to refer their customers who may be victims of mail theft related check fraud to the United States Postal Inspection Services (USPIS) at 1-877-876-2455 or https://www.uspis.gov/report.
For more information, please visit the link below:
FinCEN Alert, FIN-2023-Alert003, February 27, 2023