Are BTMs Really “Big Time Magnets” for Criminal Activity? (Part 2)
How Coin Cloud Prevents Crime at Digital Currency Kiosks
In Part 1 of this article, we were speaking with Raquel Shingleton, VP of Compliance and Chris McAlary, CEO of Coin Cloud, about criminal activity at Bitcoin ATMs.
We ended off with:
“We see all walks of life at our machine. What is sort of counterintuitive is that most people perceive the Bitcoin user to be a young, tech-savvy male who is an early adopter,” McAlary explains. “That’s widely true of Bitcoin usage generally. But in terms of who is actually using the Bitcoin ATM product, it actually skews older and female because we think that user base actually finds more familiarity and convenience as their top priorities when using Bitcoin.”
“My grandma doesn’t want to set up an online cryptocurrency brokerage account. She wants to access the Bitcoin but she just doesn’t want to go through that process and our product makes that very, very easy,” he continues. “It’s not only for the young, tech savvy people, it’s for everybody.”
But again, if it’s so easy and appealing to novices, why wouldn’t criminals want to take advantage of that? After all, naïve tech-phobes are often the target of dark web scams.
Unparalled Customer Service
“Well, we have limits in place that prompt our customers,” says Shingleton. “This could be first-time customers that have never used our kiosk or it could be a repeat customer. We prompt them to call and speak with a member of our customer support team. This department is trained on how to speak with our customers to identify if they’re doing a transaction on their own behalf or somebody prompted them to use our kiosk, and we will deny a transaction if we suspect the customer is the victim of a crime or a victim of a scam.”
They field 300–400 such calls every day. To date, the Coin Cloud team has been able to save almost $300,000 in scam money and provide those funds back to the customer.
Robust Compliance Software
“Our software will also detect when there are anomalies,” Shingleton adds, like when multiple people are trying to use the same account, or the same ID is being used on different accounts. “All of this is reviewed by a member of our Compliance Team, and accounts will be blocked from further use if detected.”
McAlary notes, “These things started coming up and our team reacted really fast to the situation and put these in place, and I’m proud to say that we’ve seen a significant decline.” He hopes the scammers have gotten discouraged enough to give up on using BTMs altogether, but they could have gone to other BTM operators who don’t have such strict procedures in place. Either way, as the Coin Cloud network grows, the goal is to help push illicit activity completely out of the system.
“You just hear those bad stories because bad stories make for a good read, and so then you just associate Bitcoin with anything negative. And as people find out, as it becomes more mainstream, as people become more aware and they actually use the services, they realize that it’s not the Wild Wild West,” he says.