Frequently Asked Questions

892. What is the difference between the previous version of Sanctions List Search, and the upgraded version made live to the public on January 25, 2021?

Answer

OFAC’s Sanctions List Search application has been available to the public since 2011. Over the years the tool’s userbase grew to a point where the original infrastructure and design for the application could not keep up with demand.  In late 2020, OFAC took steps to increase the tool’s efficiency to improve its performance.  

The primary update was the addition of a new algorithm to the tool’s fuzzy logic search functionality.  The upgraded application still utilizes the original Soundex and Jaro-Winkler algorithms in addition to the new algorithm (see this link for more information on the upgrade).  As a result of this update, users may see differences in search results when compared to an earlier version of the tool.  If users had previously tested Sanctions List Search in order to determine how the tool could assist in their due diligence, it is recommended that such testing be repeated on the current version of the tool. OFAC may continue to periodically update and/or make changes to the tool.  While OFAC has no immediate plans to further upgrade the application’s fuzzy logic functionality users should watch OFAC’s website for information about future upgrades. As such, users are to advised that they are using a free service at their own risk, and that best practice dictates each user performs baseline checks to see how updates/changes to the tool may affect search results.

For more information regarding how the tool works and calculates scores, please refer to FAQs 246, 247 and 249.  For more information on who may use the tool, please see FAQ 287.

Date Released
April 28, 2021