I'll Just Pay Cash

Excerpt from: {see} Digital Magazine - Issue #4
Published: July 15, 2008



I’LL JUST PAY CASH

Why OFAC’s "Most Wanted" Might be Your Least

Like identity theft, terrorist financial activities often target the least suspecting victims, and least suspecting participants. Targets tend to be "buy here pay here" used car lots, family-owned jewelry stores, month-to-month apartment rentals and other small businesses that shouldn't have to worry (and generally don't) about getting caught up in money-laundering or arms trafficking schemes.

Protecting businesses large and small, the US Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) maintains "watch lists" of known or suspected criminals and terrorists. Since September 11, 2001, economic and trade sanctions against terrorists and "those engaged in activities associated with weapons of mass destruction" have come to the forefront, along with regulations for cross-checking identities against OFAC watchlists.

Unfortunately, teasing out the details of how a particular business is impacted can be a job in itself. It's clear that businesses are liable for making sure someone isn't a known or suspected threat to national security before extending credit, renting cars and apartments, or accepting a stack of cash as payment for jewelry, TVs and other high-ticket items or services.

It's also clear that OFAC regulations require businesses to reference prospective customers against the SDN (Specially Designated Nationals) List. And it's fairly clear that failing to comply can result in criminal charges, $100K fines, even potential imprisonment.

Less clear, however, are the rules about what to do if a search produces a match. Are you required to report the finding? Who do you call? Do you have to tell the prospective applicant what the search turned up? What happens if something happens down the road?

Also, is OFAC enough? More extensive screenings go beyond basic OFAC databases to include dozens of different lists and a wide range of sources such as FBI and INTERPOL "Most Wanted" lists. Making watch list screenings standard practice with credit and identity verification not only helps keep businesses out of shady transactions, but out of court as well.

But even with this risk insurance, compliance is a moving target and there's no substitute for being informed. MicroBilt recommends companies like Regulatory DataCorp as well as www.microbilt.com for crucial developments in the crusade to safeguard and verify identity.

And when in doubt, check. Better to take charge than be charged.

Do you have questions about OFAC and your business? We're happy to help. Send your questions to insights@microbilt.com.

More Inside {see} Digital Magazine

View Our Other Articles From This Issue of {see} Magazine

SIDESTEPPING AN "IDENTITY" CRISIS

FUNNY, YOU DON’T SOUND TEXAN

HANDLE WITH CARE

TAPPING THE CREDIT UNDERSERVED MARKET

ALTERNATIVE DATA REPOSITORY

FAIR CREDIT REPORTING RISK-BASED PRICING REGULATIONS

 
 
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