The United Kingdom’s financial regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), “disrupted” 26 of the 34 cryptocurrency ATMs it visited and inspected since the start of 2023.

On Feb. 14, the FCA gave an ultimatum to all crypto ATM operators in the UK — to either comply with regulations or wind down illegal operations. Following the warning, the FCA — along with other law enforcement agencies — investigated 36 crypto ATM locations using powers under the Money Laundering Regulations 2017.

Speaking against the use of all crypto ATMs, Steve Smart, joint executive director of enforcement and market oversight at the FCA, stated:

“If you use a crypto ATM in the UK, you are using a machine that is operating illegally and you may be handing your money over to criminals.”

Smart further clarified that victims of scams involving the crypto or Bitcoin (BTC) ATMs “will not be protected” by the government or the operator of the machines. Out of the lot, 18 locations were inspected in May and June, right when the FCA publicly announced the commencement of the inspection drive.

Related: UK government moves forward on bill aimed at empowering authorities to seize crypto

All crypto exchanges and ATMs must be registered with the FCA and comply with the UK Money Laundering Regulations. On July 8, Clive Police Department released a report detailing how a crypto scammer, called up an unsuspecting victim pretending to represent law enforcement and managed to steal $6,000 while threatening an arrest warrant.

Scammers utilize fear tactics and impersonate law enforcement officials to deceive unsuspecting individuals into transferring funds through crypto ATMs. However, it is important to note that law enforcement agencies never contact individuals demanding payment over the phone or via crypto.

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