Financial institutions are being asked to contact the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network and their functional regulator as soon as possible if they are affected by COVID-19 and have any concern about any potential delays in their ability to file required Bank Secrecy Act reports.
FinCEN is also advising financial institutions to remain alert about malicious or fraudulent transactions similar to those that may occur following natural disasters. FinCEN says that it is monitoring reports of “potential illicit behavior” connected to COVID-19 and identified some current trends:
• Imposter scams. Bad actors attempt to solicit donations, steal personal information, or distribute malware by impersonating government agencies (such as Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), international organizations (such as the World Health Organization or other health care organizations).
• Investment scams. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is urging investors to be wary of COVID-19-related investment scams, such as promotions that falsely claim that the products or services of publicly traded companies can prevent, detect or cure coronavirus.
• Product Scams. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission and U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued public statements and warning letters to companies selling unapproved or misbranded products that make false health claims pertaining to COVID-19. Additionally, FinCEN has received reports regarding fraudulent marketing of COVID-19-related supplies, such as facemasks.
• Insider trading. FinCEN has received reports regarding suspected COVID-19-related insider trading.
Financial institutions seeking to contact FinCEN should call its regulatory support section at (800) 949-2732 and select option 6 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.