EcoATM could be cash mecca for thieves

Nov. 20, 2012

The EcoATM has widely been praised for both its convenient service and environmentally friendly message of recycling and sustainability. But according to recent crimes and the Atlanta police, the kiosks could be attracting thieves looking for quick cash.

According to, the Atlanta Underground shopping center houses an EcoATM that frequently has customers lined up waiting for a turn to bank on old phones. The problem with the unmanned kiosk, police say, is that criminals are picking phones from pockets or purses and turning to the machine to quickly dump the stolen goods while turning an easy profit.

The EcoATM requires users to scan their driver's license or photo identification to complete the transaction; a process the company says is monitored at its California headquarters by an actual person. The monitoring is not infallible to letting thefts occur, as the article reported, noting one case where a man’s phone was stolen and later tracked down to the inside of an EcoATM.

"If we spot a discrepancy, if we think that there's a problem, then we flag that transaction and we don't allow it to occur," said Ryan Kuder, EcoATM's director of marketing.  

Still, police say the kiosks are a growing concern.

"The issue we see with this is this could be used as a tool for criminals to quickly sell phones that are snatched or taken in robberies," Lt. Jeff Cantin, of APD's downtown Zone 5 precinct, said in the article.

Read more about kiosks in retail.

Topics: Recycling Kiosks , Retail , Vending Kiosks

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