The risks of cryptocurrency: A minor loses 731 euros to a Worldcoin employee’s fraud

The risks of cryptocurrency: A minor loses 731 euros to a Worldcoin employee’s fraud

Adrián, a 15-year-old boy from San Fernando de Henares (Madrid), was enticed by the offer of “free money” at the Plenilunio shopping center in September 2022. He had gone there with some friends to grab a burger, and the enticing offer came from a commercial promoting Worldcoin, a new cryptocurrency that required an iris scan to register. Adrián didn’t think much of it at the time, as he was only focused on the idea of getting free money. No one asked for their age or any documentation, and the group of teenagers were all signed up.

For over a year, Adrián accumulated digital currencies, initially worth only a few cents. By the end of 2023, their value started to rise, and by February 2024, Adrián had amassed 731 euros. However, being a minor, he couldn’t open a bank account to withdraw the money. A Worldcoin employee at Plenilunio, who Adrián knew from San Fernando, offered to help him cash out for a 10% commission, which Adrián agreed to, but unfortunately never saw the money again.

On March 6, the Spanish Data Protection Agency (AEPD) temporarily prohibited Worldcoin from continuing to collect iris scans from Spaniards due to 13 complaints they had received about insufficient information or data collection from minors. Worldcoin claimed they always required individuals to be at least 18 years old to register for a World ID, which was needed to collect the coins. However, it was discovered that it was easy for minors to lie about their age to access the “free money.”

Adrián’s experience highlighted the risks involved in a data collection organization with loopholes in their system. His mother, Lidia Fernández, expressed concerns not only about the age verification issues but also about the overall lack of security in the process. The incident with Adrián and the subsequent attempts to retrieve his money from a fraudulent individual further emphasized the dangers associated with such schemes.

Adrián’s involvement in the Worldcoin project led to a series of events that exposed vulnerabilities in the system, including the exploitation of user codes and the lack of proper verification protocols for minors. The manipulation by individuals like E., who took advantage of Adrián’s situation for personal gain, illustrated the need for stricter regulations and oversight in cryptocurrency operations. Despite the promises of technology advancements and data security from Worldcoin, the reality of scams and fraud remain prevalent in the industry.

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