The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has issued a warning about using unregistered cryptocurrency money transmitting services that fail to comply with U.S. anti-money laundering laws. The agency has provided tips for the public to protect themselves, advising them to avoid providers that do not require Know Your Customer (KYC) information.

FBI’s Crypto Warning

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) published a public service announcement on Thursday, warning about using unregistered crypto money services businesses. The announcement states:

The FBI warns Americans against using cryptocurrency money transmitting services that are not registered as Money Services Businesses (MSB) according to United States federal law … and do not adhere to anti-money laundering requirements.

A few simple steps can prevent unintentional use of non-compliant services. For example, avoid cryptocurrency money transmitting services that do not collect know your customer (KYC) information from customers when required,” the Bureau detailed.

The FBI also provided some tips for the public to protect themselves. Firstly, the agency recommended that before using a money transmitting service, check whether it is registered as an MSB with the U.S. Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). FinCEN provides a website where anyone can check whether a company is registered.

Secondly, the FBI warned:

Beware of financial services that do not ask for KYC information including name, date of birth, address, and ID before allowing you to send or receive money or cryptocurrency.

Moreover, the FBI stressed that “just because an app can be found in an app store does not necessarily mean it is a legal service and is complying with federal requirements.” The agency further cautioned: “Avoid using services that advertise themselves for illegal purposes. Be cautious when using cryptocurrency services known to be used by criminals to launder their funds.”

This FBI warning came one day after the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) charged Keonne Rodriguez and William Lonergan Hill with operating Samourai Wallet, which the authorities described as “an unlicensed money transmitting business that executed over $2 billion in unlawful transactions and laundered over $100 million in criminal proceeds.”

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