The UK financial regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), has “disabled” 26 of the 34 cryptocurrency ATMs it has inspected since early 2023.
On February 14th, the FCA issued an ultimatum to all cryptocurrency ATM operators in the UK to comply with or cease illegal operations. Following the warning, the FCA and other law enforcement agencies used their powers under anti-money laundering regulations to investigate 36 cryptocurrency ATM installations.
Steve Smart, FCA Co-Chief Executive Officer for Enforcement and Market Surveillance, opposes the use of all cryptocurrency ATMs, stating:
“If you use a cryptocurrency ATM in the UK, you are using a machine that works illegally and you may be handing money over to criminals.”
Smart further clarified that victims of cryptocurrency and bitcoin ATM fraud “are not protected by the government or ATM operators.” Of these, 18 sites were inspected in May and June, the same months the FCA publicly announced the start of its inspection campaign.
All cryptocurrency exchanges and ATMs must be registered with the FCA and comply with UK money laundering regulations. On July 8, the Clive Police Department detailed how a cryptocurrency scammer posing as a law enforcement agent called an unsuspecting victim and stole $6,000 while threatening to issue an arrest warrant. published a report.
Scammers use scare tactics and pose as law enforcement officers to trick unsuspecting people into transferring funds through cryptocurrency ATMs. However, it is important to note that law enforcement will never contact anyone requesting payment by phone or cryptocurrency.