FinCEN warns of fraud, financial crimes related to economic impact payments

The U.S. Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network has issued an advisory to alert financial institutions to fraud and other financial crimes related to economic impact payments authorized by the CARES Act and the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021.

The advisory contains descriptions of economic impact payment fraud, associated red flag indicators and information on reporting suspicious activity. It is part of a series published by FinCEN on COVID-19-related frauds and criminal activity.

According to the advisory, examples of economic impact payment fraud and theft may include:

  • fraudulent checks;
  • altered checks;
  • counterfeit checks;
  • theft of economic impact payments;
  • phishing schemes using economic impact payments as a lure; and
  • inappropriate seizure of economic impact payments.

FinCEN also issued a companion notice that consolidates COVID-19 key terms and instructions for financial institutions filing suspicious activity reports related to COVID-19.

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