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Compliance Confiscating counterfeit cash
WASHINGTON (11/9/12)--The compliance experts at the Credit Union National Association received an interesting question recently: "How should a credit union handle suspected counterfeit currency? Specifically, are credit unions allowed to confiscate it--even when the member insists that we return it?"

Knowing that the answer would be of interest to many, the compliance team featured the answer Thursday on CUNA's go-to compliance resource, CompBlog.

As the letter writer already knew, if a credit union rece4ives counterfeit cash it must file a Suspicious Activity Report--or SAR--under requirements of the Bank Secrecy Act.

But beyond that, the U.S. Secret Service provides this guidance:

  • Do not return counterfeit currency to the passer;
  • Delay the passer if possible;
  • Observe the passer's description, as well as that of any companions, and the license plate numbers of any vehicles used;
  • Contact your local police department or U.S. Secret Service field office. These numbers can be found on the inside front page of your local telephone directory;
  • Write your initials and the date in the white border areas of the suspect note;
  • Limit the handling of the note. Carefully place it in a protective covering, such as an envelope; and,
  • Surrender the note or coin only to a properly identified police officer or a U.S. Secret Service special agent.
For more information go to the U.S. Secret Service website by using the resource link below.

The Secret Service has a "Know Your Money" page that warns: Those who fail to carefully examine the money they receive or who cash checks and bonds without requesting proper identification are potential victims. Only with the public's cooperation can the United States Secret Service reduce and prevent these crimes.

The site is designed to help detect counterfeit currency and guard against forgery loss.
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