A seven-year-old boy racked up a £4,000 bill on his father’s iPad playing a dinosaur video game.
Mohamed Shugaa didn’t realise his son Faisall knew the password for his tablet and only found out he had been playing Jurassic World when his bank card was declined.
The 32-year-old, who owns the Sussex Carpet Centre in Crawley, West Sussex, said that when he tried to pay his suppliers his bank card was rejected as it was overdrawn.
When he checked his account he found that £3,911 had vanished from his account – with 60 separate payments to iTunes from between December 13 to December 18.
Faisall unwittingly racked up the bill paying for game upgrades and new dinosaur characters in game currency Dino Bucks – not realising he was spending real money.
During the game, players can collect more than 50 species of dinosaur and can choose to do battle with other dinosaurs and build a dinosaur park.
Mr Shugaa said he had “no idea” that his son knew his password, but said he must have watched him tap it in and copied him.
Speaking today, he said: “When I couldn’t make another payment I rang my bank.
“They put me through to the fraud team and they asked if I was aware 60-plus transactions had been made to iTunes from December 13 to 18 totalling £3,911.
“I didn’t have a clue what they were talking about and I had to check my bank account online to understand what was going on.”
He said he called Apple, telling them he was a ‘grown man’ and wouldn’t spend nearly £4,000 on a ‘daft’ computer game.
He said: “I was so mad. I’m 32 years old, why would Apple think I would be spending thousands of pounds on buying dinosaurs and upgrading a game?
“Why didn’t they email me to check I knew these payments were being made? I got nothing from them. How much longer would it have gone on for?
“Faisall is only seven, he doesn’t understand the real value of money and what the payments in the game involved.”
He told the Crawley News today: “Apple have details of my account so it would have been clear that I don’t spend that type of money on iTunes.
“It should have been flagged up.”
A statement on Apple’s website reads: “All iOS devices (iPad, iPhone and iPod touch) have built in parental controls that give parents and guardians the ability to restrict access to content.
“Parental controls also give parents and guardians the option to turn off functionality such as purchasing from iTunes and the ability to turn off in-app purchases.
“Our parents’ guide to iTunes details the steps adults can take to make sure younger players have access to the right content. The first thing we recommend is not to share your password.”
They also advice customers to disable the in-app purchases function on their Apple device.
Their online guideline says “To do this, go to “Settings”, select “General”, tap “Restrictions” and select “Enable Restrictions”. Here you must create a unique four-digit passcode, then scroll down to “Allowed Content” and turn off “In-app Purchases”.Bear in mind that unless you adjust the time necessary before a password is required to purchase content, it will automatically allocate a 15-minute time limit. This will mean that if it has been less than a quarter of an hour since you downloaded the app or made an in-app purchase, your children will not be required to type in your password again, potentially racking up a huge bill without inputting any additional details.
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