Have A Smartphone? Be aware of In-App Purchases

Image courtesy of uk.wikipedia.org

Image courtesy of uk.wikipedia.org

Last year my five year old daughter had been using my wife’s smartphone playing dress-up and doll creation games we downloaded. A day or two later I received an email from the online store confirming the purchase of over $40 of game features. We asked our daughter what this was about and if she had to enter a code to make any of these purchases. It turns out that my daughter was able to make “In Application Purchases” without having to enter a passcode. After some investigation into my wife’s smartphone settings we found out that the option that allows in-app purchases was turned on. Usually, turning on in-app purchases requires a passcode which only my wife and I know. We always lock down features to prohibit inappropriate content from being displayed and I know I had turned off the option for in-app purchases. I contacted the smartphone company and asked them how this could have happened. They asked me if we had recently downloaded an update to the phone’s operating system and I said yes about a week ago. They said doing that sometimes will reset the in-app purchase feature to its default settings which allows for in-app purchases. My response was, “well thanks for telling me that now”. They were nice enough and refunded all of the purchases my daughter made.   The lessons learned here are be aware of the in-app purchases feature on your smartphone and by all means check what you are being charged for and question anything that does not look like something you had authorized. Here’s some additional information about being aware of in-app purchases and how they could end up costing you a lot of money. http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/kim-kardashians-free-smart-phone-game-money-suck.html

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