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UK's Financial Conduct Authority Cracks Down on Illicit Crypto ATMs

Regulator warns against engaging with unauthorized cryptocurrency dispensing machines

Wed, 12 Jul 2023, 04:18 am UTC

A series of crypto-crackdowns has hit the United Kingdom as the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the country's top financial regulator, halted the operations of 26 illicit cryptocurrency dispensing machines across the nation on Tuesday.

Steve Smart, a senior official at the FCA responsible for enforcement and market oversight, issued a strong warning to the public. Smart stated unequivocally that dealing with a crypto ATM in the UK is considered an unlawful activity. He further cautioned that such actions could inadvertently contribute to the profits of unscrupulous individuals.

Highlighting the unsettling realities surrounding these machines, the FCA shared the story of an unfortunate consumer from Sheffield, Northern England. This individual attempted to purchase digital currencies through a crypto ATM but ended up losing a substantial sum of one thousand pounds without receiving any cryptocurrencies or funds in return.

Since the beginning of the year, the FCA, in collaboration with various law enforcement agencies, has conducted extensive inspections across 34 locations suspected of hosting illegal crypto ATMs. This thorough sweep led to the disruption of operations for 26 machines.

Smart emphasized the risks associated with using these unauthorized machines, stressing the lack of safeguards for individuals who fall victim to scams involving such ATMs. He warned that victims could potentially lose their entire investment, leaving them in a difficult situation.

The FCA's actions serve as a strong reminder of the inherent risks within the largely unregulated world of cryptocurrencies. It underscores the importance of vigilance and due diligence before engaging in such investments, especially when dealing with suspicious machines that operate outside the bounds of the law.

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