UK FCA Takes Action: 26 Crypto ATMs Seized in Coordinated Probe

In a recent development, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) of the United Kingdom has taken significant action against the operation of cryptocurrency ATMs. During an ongoing probe, the FCA managed to disrupt 26 out of the 34 crypto ATMs it investigated since the beginning of 2023.

The crackdown on crypto ATMs came after the FCA issued a clear ultimatum on February 14 to all operators in the country. The message was simple: comply with regulations or face the consequences of illegal operations. Subsequently, the FCA, in collaboration with other law enforcement agencies, initiated a thorough examination of 36 crypto ATM locations, exercising its powers under money laundering regulations.

Steve Smart, the joint executive director of enforcement and market oversight at the FCA, raised concerns about the use of crypto ATMs, warning users of potential risks. He stated that individuals who utilize these machines are engaging in illegal activities and may unknowingly hand their money over to criminals. Moreover, Smart emphasized that victims of scams involving crypto or Bitcoin ATMs would not receive protection from the government or the ATM operators.

During the inspection drive conducted in May and June, a total of 18 locations were carefully examined by the FCA. This initiative coincided with the public announcement made by the FCA regarding the commencement of their investigation. The primary objective of the inspection was to ensure that all crypto exchanges and ATMs operating in the UK are registered with the FCA and compliant with the country’s money laundering regulations.

This recent crackdown comes in the wake of a concerning incident reported by the Clive Police Department on July 8. The report highlighted a crypto scam where a fraudulent individual posed as a law enforcement representative and coerced an unsuspecting victim into transferring $6,000 through a crypto ATM under the threat of an arrest warrant. It serves as a reminder that scammers frequently employ fear tactics and impersonation techniques to deceive innocent individuals.

It is important for the public to be aware that law enforcement agencies never demand payment over the phone or via crypto. Any such requests should be treated with skepticism and reported to the appropriate authorities promptly.

The FCA’s actions against crypto ATMs demonstrate their commitment to combating illicit activities in the cryptocurrency space and ensuring compliance with regulatory standards. As the investigation unfolds, further measures may be implemented to safeguard the interests of individuals and prevent criminal exploitation in the realm of cryptocurrency.

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