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Suspicious Activity Reports to the IRS when buying or depositing money orders.

Suspicious Activity Reports to the IRS when buying or depositing money orders.

Old Feb 14, 13, 8:12 pm
  #1  
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Suspicious Activity Reports to the IRS when buying or depositing money orders.

I am sure this has been covered before, but I think it bears repeating.

I was at Walmart today buying money orders with my MVD and PP MC. I had bought 3 and was giving the clerk the amount of m/o #4 when she said "I'm going to need a bunch of info from you in order to complete the transaction". After a bit of back and forth, which included a lot of lines like "I can't tell you who I am reporting you to" and "I am not allowed to disclose the $ amount that triggers my report", I learned the following:

$3000 and over worth of money orders bought per day and they have to do a possible suspicious activity report. I know this because I saw the form that she was going to fill out. I am not sure if this is per store, or across the whole chain. I do know that the register prompted her to start the report process. I have bought about $12,000 worth of m/o over the last 30 days, so this may also have something to do with it. However, my last visit a few weeks back had me buying over $4,000 worth in one visit.

They ask for your name, address, dob, ssn, occupation, etc.

The write all of this down on a form that they keep in a binder for this purpose that anyone behind the counter can access. According to the form they are supposed to keep it on file for 5 years.

I was able to not buy the 4th m/o and avoid having the report taken, but you may not be so lucky, so keep the limits in mind.

You may say "I have nothing to hide, all of my money is legit and documented", but really why take the risk? I would not want to explain all of this to a bureaucrat from the IRS who may not get what we are doing. Not to mention that your info in a binder at Walmart is seems like a recipe for ID theft.

The interesting thing is that I have had to go through this process at the bank before when cashing checks for more than $10,000 in a single day, so I always kept that limit in mind. $3000 is a new one for me.
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Old Feb 14, 13, 8:45 pm
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This exact same thing happened to my brother yesterday, however, the process was a little different. He went in the morning and purchased 2K and then 1K in the afternoon. He used two different cards, so I'm pretty sure the computer wouldn't know that the same person would be purchasing these money orders. The guy then asked for his ID and all sorts of information. Since I'm sure that the computer had no control on who to file an SAR for, I'm pretty sure the cashiers have some sort of control over this procedure.
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Old Feb 14, 13, 9:12 pm
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fortunately I know for a fact that a report, internal or external was not filed for me, because when I declined the purchase of the last m/o, she didn't take my info.
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Old Feb 14, 13, 9:14 pm
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Easy solution, go to different places and do it under 3K. Wal Mart isn't the only one who you can do it with. Most supermarkets (Kroger, Publix) have it.
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Old Feb 14, 13, 9:58 pm
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So $3k triggers all the information that is needed to open credit in your name be placed in a binder behind the counter at Wal-Mart that ANY employee can access? Gee, I wonder what could go wrong?!
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Old Feb 15, 13, 9:13 pm
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I work for a bank, and SARs are also reported when a customer tries to structure transactions that will avoid a SAR. For example, if someone wants to buy $3000 worth of MO and the cashier mentions a SAR will need to be filled out, then the customer says, "oh, just $2000 then".

This is standard practice for all banks. However, im not sure if this extends to walmart or other non-financial institutions.
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Old Feb 15, 13, 11:26 pm
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IRS reporting?
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Old Feb 16, 13, 2:56 am
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I'm a little skeptical that the IRS would be the recipient of this kind of SAR. Other agencies, sure (FBI, DEA, maybe DHS), but I think the IRS already has it's hands full and doesn't need to be tracking money orders at WalMart. At least I hope not.
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Old Feb 16, 13, 10:43 am
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I buy all my WM MO's from the Money Center express station. No need to get real humans involved.
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Old Feb 16, 13, 2:00 pm
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Originally Posted by bangkokiscool View Post
I buy all my WM MO's from the Money Center express station. No need to get real humans involved.
Isn't that only giving out $500 face value?

Last edited by Happy; Feb 18, 13 at 4:13 pm
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Old Feb 16, 13, 11:02 pm
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What happens if you tell them that you do not want to give your social security number to them? What can they do?
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Old Feb 17, 13, 2:25 pm
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right... give someone your ss#, vs not giving them your ss#. I vote NOT!
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Old Feb 17, 13, 7:23 pm
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I don't think SARs are submitted to the IRS, per se, but instead to the Department of the Treasury, to for possible money laundering.
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Old Feb 17, 13, 7:26 pm
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Originally Posted by Happy View Post
Isn't that only giving out $500 face value?

Someone actually reported being harassed by Chase Security Dept by paying his Chase card with too many small value Money Orders and that "small value" actually is at $1000 apiece, that he was "structuring"...

Imagine depositing doz of $500 MOs to a bank account...
There is an offense called structuring which is avoiding reporting thresholds by creating a large number of smaller transactions.

Originally Posted by Andy2 View Post
A really bad thing happens, much worse than getting on the monetary transaction log that WalMart keeps for transactions for transactions of between $3,000 and $9,999. As the banker pointed out in an earlier post, financial places are specifically instructed to file a SAR if a customer refuses to provide information after being informed that it is required in a cash transaction. Plus WalMart will just cancel the order and not give you the money orders, and they have a lot of information to file the SAR when you gave them the debit card and you really do not want that SAR to say the customer became uncooperative when we asked him for information to authenticate himself, at least in my opinion.
This.
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Old Feb 17, 13, 9:02 pm
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One can always pay a card by multiple payments spread out a course of weeks before due dates - No way this can be classified "structuring" as cash can become available over time to pay bills.

Last edited by Happy; Feb 18, 13 at 4:14 pm
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