DEFINITION of 'Suspicious Activity Report - SAR'

One of the tools provided under the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) as a way of monitoring suspicious activities that would not ordinarily be flagged under other reports (such as the currency transaction report.) Suspicious activity reports can cover almost any activity that is out of the ordinary, if that activity gives rise to a suspicion that the account holder is attempting to hide something or avoid reporting under the BSA.

BREAKING DOWN 'Suspicious Activity Report - SAR'

SARs and the other provisions of the BSA are part of the anti-money laundering statutes and regulations, which have become much stricter since 2001. The customer is not told that an SAR is being filed. Disclosure to the customer, or failure to file an SAR, can result in very severe penalties for both individuals and institutions.

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