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Bitcoin ATMs: Criminals target cryptocurrency transactions

According to law enforcement officials, criminals use bitcoin ATMs all over the country for money laundering and drug trafficking.

These machines are usually located in convenience shops and private businesses. They allow customers to buy easily. bitcoinCash, and any other cryptocurrencies. These funds will then be sent to the customer’s cryptocurrency wallet.

This convenience comes with easy money, however.

Law enforcement says that the problem has become worse as US bitcoin ATMs have increased in number in recent years. Coin ATM Radar reports that there are now more than 26,000 ATMs, an increase from the 4,212 machines in January 2020. Some well-known firms include WalmartCircle K has begun to install them.

More than 26,000. There are more bitcoin ATMs throughout the US.


Last week, the FBI issued a warning about fraud using crypto ATMs and QR codes for quick responses to facilitate payment.

“The FBI has seen an increase in scammers directing victims to use physical cryptocurrency ATMs and digital QR codes to complete payment transactions,” the bureau said in a public service announcementThis is a. To direct payment to the intended recipient, you can use QR codes at crypto ATMs.

This is how the fraud works according to FBI. “The scammers supply a QR code to victims associated with their cryptocurrency wallet to enable them to make the transactions. Once the victim has been scammed, they are directed to an ATM that accepts cryptocurrency. They then ask the victim for their money and tell them how to use it to purchase cryptocurrency.

Recently, one nation has taken aim at the absence of supervision of machines.

Lisa Cialino counsel to the New Jersey State Commission of Investigation stated, “There’s scams and there’s fraud.” The most concerning thing about these devices is their owners or operators who don’t know what to do under the Bank Secrecy Act.

Bitcoin ATM owners must register with U.S. Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. An investigation done by the New Jersey Commission earlier in this year revealed that actual regulation is lax. This is similar to what many other states have.

The report stated that “Many machines allow near anonymity when purchasing cryptocurrency up to $900 in value by only asking for a phone number.” “Some machines do not require any identifying information.”

This alarming fact is being reported by law enforcement officers, who stated to CNBC that ATMs can be used for criminal activities. The machines have been used by drug traffickers, money changers and those trying to convince unwitting victims of sending money to crypto wallets. The 2020 DEA report stated that ATMs could “enable illicit bulk currency movement.”

CNBC talks with Lisa Cialino from the New Jersey State Commission of Investigation about criminal activity at Bitcoin ATMs.


Cialino stated that criminals seem to be able to exploit ATMs easily.

She said that it seemed very easy because most of the machines don’t collect information about the person performing the transaction.

Commission of New Jersey A report revealed that cryptocurrency purchase in New York State was made by more than $70,000,000 between 2015 and 2020.

Marc Grens of Chicago-based Bitcoin ATM Operator DigitalMint said the findings were similar to what his firm discovered while investigating where certain crypto transactions had ended up.

According to him, “It leads me to believe that these exchanges can be great havens to those who are scamming individuals in the United States to transfer the fund out the U.S. Borders, that allows them sort of to claim the cash and have full control,” he stated.

Pennsylvania police have warned that a Bitcoin scam was underway. They were warning people about fraudulent transactions to their PayPal accounts.

Chainalysis conducted a study and found that nearly 75% illicit cash left the ATMs ended up going to fraud shops. This is a dark-web site selling stolen credit card numbers.

DigitalMint launched the Cryptocurrency Compliance Cooperative in an attempt to combat fraud and ensure universal compliance.

It was formed by people who were similar in their interests in blockchain forensics and traditional financial services. Grens added that they are working to enhance the industry.

Marc Grens (president of DigitalMint) launched the Cryptocurrency Compliance Cooperative, which aims to reduce fraud and set universal standards for compliance.


There is always crime. This crime is not going to end. This is not a new medium. It has already happened, it’s happening. And we know this because of the data. He said that we all want to cooperate to end it.”

Grens stated companies shouldn’t permit transactions that use a telephone number of up to $900.

CoinFlip’s executives say there is no problem with the $900 threshold. With just a phone number and a name, the company will allow crypto transactions up to $900. You will need additional identification for larger amounts.

CoinFlip CEO Ben Weiss stated that the company uses a risk-based Tier approach depending on how much crypto is purchased.

“At each level there are additional pieces of KYC [know your customer]He stated that such a requirement is necessary.

Weiss added that they use blockchain analytics tools for fraud detection. The blockage of crypto wallets linked to nefarious activities is a result.

It shows bitcoin’s current location, but also where it is headed. He said that bitcoin is a public ledger, which is the best thing about it.

Weiss stated that asking for a number to make transactions under $900 will allow more customers to purchase crypto.

“An approach to AML is essential.” [anti-money-laundering]Weiss stated that KYC is a method of assessing the risks and allowing for smaller transactions. “We want everybody to be able buy bitcoin at any price, $50, $100 or $200, no matter what their status in immigration is and without ID.”

Weiss explained that all industry employees, including us, are committed to making sure the industry is as clean and green as possible.

Coinflip CEO Ben Weiss and Kris Dayrit (President of Coinflip) say anyone can buy up to $900 worth of Bitcoin using just a phone number and a name.


Kris Dayrit is the president of CoinFlip. He said that customer service agents have been trained to recognize red flags like a customer being coerced into making a purchase.

Others bitcoin ATM firms claim they also take anti-fraud precautions seriously.

Doug Carrillo was co-founder and chief strategy officer at Bitstop. You can find bad apples in every industry. Many ATMs let you purchase anonymously.

He claimed that the ATMs had allowed fraudsters branch out.

It is the same as bad actors in check cashing, money transmission, and MSBs. [money service businesses]Carrillo stated that scammers can run on weekends, and then collect money from the people to disappear.

Brandon Mintz, Atlanta-based Bitcoin Depot’s CEO is also the founder and chief executive officer. Circle K was the partner of the company to place kiosks in retail stores.

Mintz claimed that because the industry was relatively new, there is room for flexibility.

Mintz declared, “Regulation to some extent is good.” Regulation that stops innovation isn’t good. We feel that other companies aren’t meeting our standards, and are flying under the radar right now. We expect that things will improve over time and they’ll have to conform with enforcement actions.

Following the explosion of bitcoin ATMs, high-profile enforcement actions were taken. The U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Central District of California has reported that a man from California pleaded guilty to laundering millions of dollars of Bitcoin and cash via unlicensed ATMs.

Bitcoin ATMs are rapidly growing in popularity.


The state-level regulations vary. New York’s Department of Financial Services, for example, requires that anyone engaging in virtual currency activities obtain a BitLicense.

Nevada does not have a specific regulatory carve-out for cryptocurrency, but if an entity serves as a digital custodian of any form of digital currency, the business may be regulated as a trust company. 

The National Conference of State Legislatures states that Wyoming and New Hampshire, however, have specific laws exempting virtual currency from their money transmission statutes.

A bill to regulate the digital asset activities is currently pending in New Jersey following the report of the New Jersey Commission. The state Department of Banking and Insurance would issue licenses to operators.

Cialino stated, “That is a huge industry. For the state to have absolute no control or handle over it is insane.”

 — CNBC Nadine El-Bawab Angelica Serrano-RomanThis report was contributed by you.

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Mike Robinson
Mike covers the financial, utilities and biotechnology sectors for Street Register. He has been writing about investment and personal finance topics for almost 12 years. Mike has an MBA in Finance from Wake Forest University.