A 6-year-old boy from Connecticut spent over $16,000 of his mother's money over the summer on purchases for a game on an iPad.
In an interview with Good Morning America, Jessica Johnson, a real estate broker and mom of two from Wilton, said her son George spent $16,293.10 in Apple App Store charges to buy rings while playing Sonic Forces.
Johnson, whose PayPal account was linked to the iPad, said that she informed other moms on Facebook about the incident so they know that this can happen to them as well.
"As a mother of young children, I thought it was important for other parents to be aware of it," she said. "It's unfortunate, because we're all in a pandemic, we're all working from home. We are working really hard to keep our kids entertained while getting work done. We're [sometimes] inclined to say, 'Here, take the iPad.' I think, clearly, it backfired in my case."
On July 9, Johnson noticed that the same charge of $106.34 appeared on her bank statement a dozen times in a row. There were also charges of $53.16 and several more in the $200 to $600 range, she told GMA.
Johnson contacted her bank about the activity, and they informed her in October that she would be responsible for the charges and should reach out to Apple.
Apple later agreed to refund her a portion of the money. "They refunded me back 10,553.86," she said.
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Johnson told GMA that the settings on her iPad were likely set for a one-time password entry, which allowed her son to keep charging her credit card.
"I didn't realize there was a setting where the child could continue to buy without the password after a certain amount of time," she said. "There are various settings that now I'm learning about."
Following the incident, Johnson said that she has purchased a game console for her children to play with instead. She also changed all her passwords. "They can't buy anything, to my knowledge, from that game," she said.
Johnson also said that she did not go overboard in reprimanding her 6-year-old for what happened.
"He was very apologetic, and he's a sensitive kid," she told GMA. "You think about the part of losing the money, but you never think about the kid … them being afraid of getting in trouble."
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