Adults are typically cautious when it comes to the apps they download on their phone or iPad. We're aware that some apps pose security threats, but mostly, we're aware that some apps cost money.
Those are the apps that we usually avoid, and we also dodge in-app purchases whenever we can. But it's different for kids. Since they're not that familiar with earning and budgeting money, they don't realize that pushing that "download" button sometimes has strings attached to it.
That was the hard lesson learned by a 32-year-old father named Mohamed Shugga, who was shocked when he received his monthly bill. It wasn't the usual billable amount, it was $5,900.
After looking into the cause of the costly bill, Shugga discovered that the additional fees were coming from in-app purchases. Purchases that Shugga didn't make himself. It was his 7-year-old son that approved them.
Many of these charges came from upgrades his son was making while playing the game Jurassic World. Shugga didn't realize his son knew the passcode for his iPad, or the password for his Apple ID. But his son used both to bypass the security measures built into the App Store.
Naturally, Shugga was upset and shocked by the occurrence. "I'm 32 years old," he said. "Why would Apple think I would be spending thousands of pounds on buying dinosaurs and upgrading the game? Why didn't they email me to check I knew these payments were being made?"
This was a much more common occurrence several years ago, before Apple made changes to the security measures required for purchases. Previously, entering your password was required for the original purchase, but there was a small window of time where no password was required for in-app purchases. However, Apple changed this and now requires a password for all purchases across the board.
Although Apple isn't required to send customers alerts for suspicious activity, this could be something more customers demand moving forward. In the same way identity theft changed the way banks responded to suspicious transactions, Apple may soon need to take similar steps to protect their customers from occurrences like this. Until then, it will be up to consumers to carefully monitor their accounts and protect their passwords.
At least in this case, Shugga was lucky. After hearing what happened, Apple refunded his money.