Regulators issued joint guidelines that reminded banks to be vigilant in verifying the identity of customers that use shell account holders.

The guidelines — issued Friday by the federal banking regulators, Financial Crimes Enforcement Network and Securities and Exchange Commission — warned that customers known as "beneficial owners" can use "nominal account holders … to conceal the identity of the true owner of assets or property derived from or associated with criminal activity."

The agencies said institutions should practice "customer due diligence" as part of compliance with anti-money-laundering rules to verify who is the ultimate holder of an account. That can include obtaining information about the relationship between a customer's agent and the beneficial owner.

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