Definition

Suspicious Activity Report (SAR)

A Suspicious Activity Report (SAR) is a document that financial institutions must file with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) following a suspected incident of money laundering or fraud. These reports are required under the United States Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) of 1970.

A SAR must be filed no later than 30 calendar days after the date of initial detection of facts that may constitute a basis for the filing. Financial institutions have to keep a copy of the SAR and the original or business record of any supporting documentation for five years. Federal law requires that a financial institution and its directors, officers, employees and agents who report suspected or known criminal violations or suspicious activity may not notify any person involved in the transaction that the transaction has been reported.

This was last updated in April 2012

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