‘Completely Predatory’: Mother Charged With Over $16,000 Bill From Child’s iPhone Game

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Jonathan Snyder Contributor
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George Johnson, the six-year-old son of real estate broker Jessica Johnson, spent over $16,000 on in-app purchases for the Sonic Forces iPhone game, according to the New York Post.

George reportedly began buying add-on boosters in July, spending $1.99 for red rings and eventually $99.99 for gold rings, which offered his character new abilities and higher speeds.

“It’s like my 6-year-old was doing lines of cocaine — and doing bigger and bigger hits,” George’s mother Jessica told the Post. “The way the charges get bundled made it almost impossible [to figure out that] they were from a game.” (RELATED: Teacher on Zoom Call Held At Knifepoint, Sics Dog On Attacker, Chases Him With Scissors)

Jessica began to notice large sums being withdrawn from her bank account and reportedly filed a fraud claim in July after her charges had reached $16,293.10. Chase Bank didn’t inform her that these charges were legitimate until October, reported the New York Post.

But Apple reportedly refused to reimburse her.

“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 are top fraud charges.”

When Jessica explained the situation to George, he reportedly said, “‘Well, I’ll pay you back, Mom.'” Jessica told the Post she remains uncertain whether she can afford her family’s mortgage.

“These games are designed to be completely predatory and get kids to buy things,” she said. “What grown-up would spend $100 on a chest of virtual gold coins?”

“Check your security settings,” she told the outlet. “I’m appalled that this is even possible in these games and that Apple devices are not pre-set to prevent this.”