While a real-estate broker in Fairfield County was working from home, in the next room, her 6-year-old son racked up over $16,000 in just a month, buying in-app purchases from the Sonic Forces mobile game on her iPad.
Now, according to a report from the New York Post, 41-year-old Wilton resident Jessica Johnson blames Apple, feeling that their devices should have pre-set settings to prevent unauthorized users from making in-app purchases without providing verification.
Instead, as she was reportedly told by Apple representatives, parents must change their settings to block their children from making purchases without verifying credit card information.
“My son didn’t understand that the money was real," Johnson told the Post. "How could he? He’s playing a cartoon game in a world that he knows is not real. Why would the money be real to him? That would require a big cognitive leap.”
During the month of July, Johnson's son George merrily purchased red rings for $1.99 and later golden rings for $99 apiece, unlocking new characters and abilities in Sonic Forces and unaware of the hundreds of dollars he was spending in each sitting, the report said.
Suspecting that a scammer had been making fraudulent purchases using her card, Johnson placed a fraud claim with Chase. After an investigation concluded the charges were genuine, according to the Post article, Johnson contacted Apple.
After reviewing an itemized list of her app store purchases, seeing Sonic the Hedgehog's blue face beside charge after charge, it was apparent that her youngest son George was the culprit.
Apple employees were reportedly not sympathetic, telling Johnson that she should have required authentication for in-app purchases in her device's settings.
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