The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the regulatory body overseeing financial activities in the United Kingdom, has taken action against a significant number of cryptocurrency automated teller machines (ATMs) operating in violation of regulations. Out of the 34 crypto ATMs inspected by the FCA since the beginning of this year, 26 have been disrupted, according to the latest reports.
The FCA’s crackdown on crypto ATMs began on February 14 when the regulatory authority issued an ultimatum to all operators, giving them the choice to either comply with the established regulations or cease their illegal operations. In response to this warning, the FCA, in collaboration with other law enforcement agencies, launched investigations into 36 locations with crypto ATMs, utilizing the powers granted to them under money laundering regulations.
Steve Smart, the joint executive director of enforcement and market oversight at the FCA, has expressed concerns about the use of these crypto ATMs. He stated, “If you use a crypto ATM in the U.K., you are using a machine that is operating illegally and you may be handing your money over to criminals.” Smart further emphasized that individuals falling victim to scams involving these ATMs will not receive any protection from the government or the machine operators.
The inspections conducted by the FCA targeted 18 locations specifically during the months of May and June, coinciding with the public announcement of the inspection drive. These inspections aim to ensure that all crypto exchanges and ATMs are registered with the Financial Conduct Authority and are compliant with the money laundering regulations in the UK.
Recent events have highlighted the risks associated with the use of unregulated crypto ATMs. The Clive Police Department recently released a report detailing a case where a crypto scammer, posing as a law enforcement representative, deceived an unsuspecting victim and successfully stole $6,000 while threatening an arrest warrant. This incident serves as a reminder of the potential dangers and financial losses that can arise from interactions with illegal crypto ATMs.
About the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
The FCA is the regulatory authority responsible for overseeing financial activities in the United Kingdom. Its primary goal is to ensure that financial markets operate in a fair and transparent manner, promoting the protection of consumers and the integrity of the UK financial system.