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FinCEN Issues guidance on spotting Counterfeit U.S. Passport Cards  


FinCEN Issues Notice on the Use of Counterfeit U.S. Passport Cards to Perpetrate Identity Theft and Fraud Schemes at Financial Institutions

Fraud, including financial crimes related to the use of counterfeit U.S. passport cards, is the largest source of illicit proceeds in the United States and represents one of the most significant money laundering threats to the United States, as highlighted in the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s National Money Laundering Risk Assessment, the National Strategy for Combatting Terrorist and Other Illicit Financing, and FinCEN’s Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism National Priorities.

  • From 2018 to 2023, U.S. passport card fraud has resulted in $10 million in actual losses and $8 million in additional attempted losses with over 4,000 victims in the United States.
  • However, DSS and other law enforcement agencies assess losses associated with U.S. passport card fraud and associated identity theft are likely significantly greater and seek increased reporting by financial institutions to identify additional illicit activity.

As a response today [APRIL 15, 2024], the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), in close coordination with the Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service (DSS), issued a Notice to financial institutions on fraud schemes related to the use of counterfeit U.S. passport cards.

The Notice

  • Provides an overview of typologies associated with U.S. passport card fraud, highlights select red flags to assist financial institutions in identifying and reporting suspicious activity, and
  • Reminds financial institutions of their reporting requirements under the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA).

FinCEN Director Andrea Gacki said.

  • “FinCEN appreciates our partnership with DSS to highlight what is a concerning increase in the use of U.S. passport cards by illicit actors to impersonate and defraud individuals at financial institutions across the country,”
  • “We are issuing this Notice to help financial institutions and their customers from becoming victims to this crime, and to remind them to remain vigilant in identifying and reporting related suspicious activity.”

DSS Deputy Assistant Director for the Office of Investigations Greg Batman said

  • “The Diplomatic Security Service remains committed to protecting the American people and financial institutions from those seeking to perpetrate financial crimes by exploiting Department of State-issued identification documents,”
  • “We hope this Notice will help financial institutions recognize fraudulent passport cards and their unlawful use.”

The full Notice is available online at FIN-2024-NTC1.

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