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Top AML/CFT & fraud blogs of the year

Mary Ellen Biery
December 28, 2022
Read Time: 0 min

Most-read blogs on financial crime in 2022

Synthetic ID fraud, AML quality control, and SAR writing topics were among Abrigo's top blogs on AML/CFT and fraud this year. 

You might also like this list of the year's top resources for FinCrime professionals.

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Abrigo's top AML/CFT articles

The blogs your FinCrime peers are reading

Cybercrime, sanctions compliance, and cryptocurrency troubles are bound to be trends for anti-money laundering/countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) and fraud professionals to track in the coming months. 

But other topics that were hot among readers of Abrigo's blog this year are also likely to stay in focus.

Abrigo, a leading technology provider of software solutions for financial institutions, published more than 85 unique articles on its industry-focused blog in 2022. Reports on the blog were viewed more than 175,000 times and helped thousands of financial crime fighters. 

Abrigo's most popular financial crime blogs over the last 12 months cover topics that continue to catch the attention of professionals and regulators. Those read most often in the past year include several that offer practical advice for operating AML and fraud programs. Others explain common and emerging fraud trends that compliance staff are working to prevent.

Here are Abrigo’s 10 top AML and fraud blogs in 2022.

Sanctions & synthetic ID

Top blogs in 2022 for AML/CFT staff

Click on the link next to the number to access each article.

The 5 pillars of BSA – Why they are important for your AML program

BSA Officers overseeing either a new AML program or overhauling an old one understand they must look to the basics to ensure compliance. As outlined in this post, regulators look for the implementation and results of each of the five pillars of BSA: internal controls, designation of a BSA Officer, periodic BSA training, and ongoing customer due diligence (CDD). This blog post covers the key takeaways related to each pillar.

AML quality control: Strong QC can prevent BSA violations

Robust quality control processes for AML/CFT programs are a safeguard against failures of suspicious activity monitoring programs. Like AML/CFT programs themselves, AML quality control should be tailored to a financial institution’s risk. Another critical component is documentation and regular quality control reviews. In this post, the director of Abrigo’s financial crimes investigation unit describes what a solid QC program looks like.

Best practices for successful BSA/AML board training

A board member who doesn’t understand the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) and your AML/CFT program is a board member who may not understand their role in an institution’s AML and fraud efforts. A lack of understanding, in turn, can affect much-needed resources. Like staff, board members need annual, customized training. Abrigo Senior Financial Crimes Investigator Tiffany McLain, CAMS, explains in this post what to include in yearly board training. Following her tips will help board members see the program from a high level and understand risks across the bank, credit union, or non-bank financial institution.

Key components of a strong sanctions compliance program

Elizabeth Rosenberg, the U.S. Treasury Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes, noted in a recent speech that financial institutions have played an essential role in denying Russia the financial means to wage war on Ukraine. “[R]eports, analysis, and typologies you develop identify and enable us to understand better the evolving risks associated with illicit Russian finance and are paramount in keeping the pressure on Russia to cease their violence,” Rosenberg said. This post by Abrigo Compliance and Engagement Director Terri Luttrell, CAMS-Audit, describes regulator expectations related to five components of effective sanctions compliance.

Synthetic identity fraud: Prevention & detection tips for financial institutions

Piggybacking. Bust Outs. These are just two schemes associated with synthetic identify fraud, or synthetic ID fraud – the fastest-growing type of financial crime in the U.S. Read this post to learn about actual synthetic ID fraud cases and the general impact of synthetic ID fraud. Understand three steps banks and credit unions can take to protect their customers or members and their institutions against synthetic identity fraud.

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9 Tips to improve your SAR narrative for law enforcement

It’s no surprise why articles with SAR writing tips are among the most popular on Abrigo’s blog. BSA Officers spend hours and sometimes days on investigations tied to Suspicious Activity Reports (SAR). Boiling the findings down in a way that enables law enforcement to digest and use the information takes skill, and this post provides helpful advice. Other resources for improving your SARs include our SAR writing checklist, an on-demand webcast on SAR writing, and another blog post farther down this list.

10 NBFI AML compliance essentials

Non-bank financial institutions (NBFIs) as a sector have grown faster than the banking sector over the last decade, and regulators have noticed. Examiner scrutiny and consent orders are evidence that management at every NBFI should understand compliance requirements. This post describes 10 steps NBFIs should take to ensure their AML programs are sound and pass the scrutiny of FinCEN and their primary regulators. This on-demand webinar, “AML compliance and sanctions requirements for NBFIs,” is also helpful.

Know your customer: Tips for front-line staff to support CDD compliance

Front-line teams are a bank or credit union’s first defense against attempts to compromise customers or members and the institution. As a result, it’s vital to make sure tellers and other customer-facing teams have information that helps them foster, not hinder, customer/member relationships even as they provide customer due diligence and support the institution’s compliance with requirements. This top blog offers seven tips that will help BSA Officers and others in compliance work productively with tellers and others with regular contact with customers/members. It also includes a sample flyer you can edit for use at your own institution to introduce the AML team and its role to front-line staff.

SAR tips part 1: Secrets to effective SAR writing

This blog providing SAR-writing tips reviews the various audiences for SARs and what information each is seeking. It also walks the reader through an example of how to cover the five essential elements that need to be included in each SAR. Finally, it discusses differences in AML screening software that can make it easier, or more difficult in some cases, to pinpoint why the transaction is suspicious. SAR writing is a perennial hot topic because of the time that goes into it, but this post can help investigators be more efficient.

Elder abuse: Red flags for AML/CFT staff

Elder financial abuse is known to be under-reported because the wrongdoer is frequently determined to be a family member or close associate of the victim. This popular AML blog post runs down financial red flags to help financial institutions detect possible financial exploitation as early as possible to prevent older adults from losing their life savings or livelihood. Abrigo has on-demand webinars covering elder financial fraud and exploitation, as well as a downloadable checklist of potential indicators of elder fraud.  

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About the Author

Mary Ellen Biery

Senior Strategist & Content Manager
Mary Ellen Biery is Senior Strategist & Content Manager at Abrigo, where she works with advisors and other experts to develop whitepapers, original research, and other resources that help financial institutions drive growth and manage risk. A former equities reporter for Dow Jones Newswires whose work has been published in

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About Abrigo

Abrigo enables U.S. financial institutions to support their communities through technology that fights financial crime, grows loans and deposits, and optimizes risk. Abrigo's platform centralizes the institution's data, creates a digital user experience, ensures compliance, and delivers efficiency for scale and profitable growth.

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