Six-year-old George Johnson secretly racked up more than $16,000 in Apple iPad game purchases from within his favorite video game, Sonic Forces — leaving his mom with a shocking credit card bill.
While working from home during the pandemic, Wilton., Conn., real estate broker Jessica Johnson, 41, didn’t realize the younger of her two sons had gone on a shopping spree on her iPad. Over the month of July, George bought add-on boosters — starting with $1.99 red rings and moving up to $99.99 gold rings — that allowed him to access new characters and more speed, spending hundreds of bucks at a time.
When Jessica discovered Apple and PayPal were withdrawing hefty sums — $562 here, $601 there — from her Chase account, she assumed it was a mistake or fraud and called the bank, confused by the unitemized charges… Still clueless that it was George’s doing, Jessica filed a fraud claim in July when her bill reached $16,293.10 — but it wasn’t until October that she was told by Chase that the charges were indeed hers and she needed to contact Apple.
She realized it was George only when she reached out to Apple and was walked through a “buried running list of all the charges. You wouldn’t know how to [find] it without someone directing you,” Jessica said. When she saw the Sonic icon, she knew it was George.
“[Apple] said, ‘Tough.’ They told me that, because I didn’t call within 60 days of the charges, that they can’t do anything,” said Jessica. “The reason I didn’t call within 60 days is because Chase told me it was likely fraud — that PayPal and Apple.com are top fraud charges.”
She admitted she hadn’t put preventive settings on her account, because she didn’t know about them.
MacDailyNews Take: Oops! Now there’s an expensive lesson in parental responsibility.
Obviously, you should use parental controls on your child’s iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. With Content & Privacy Restrictions in Screen Time, you can block or limit specific apps and features on your child’s device, including iPad game purchases. And restrict the settings on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch for explicit content, purchases and downloads, and privacy.
To prevent iTunes & App Store purchases or downloads:
- Go to Settings and tap Screen Time.
- Tap Content & Privacy Restrictions. If asked, enter your passcode.
- Tap iTunes & App Store Purchases.
- Choose a setting and set to Don’t Allow.
You can also change your password settings for additional purchases from the iTunes & App Store or Book Store. Follow steps 1-3, then choose Always Require or Don’t Require.
More info about how to set various parental controls on your child’s iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch here.