Thursday, March 3, 2016

My Kid Spent $140 on Candy Crush

No, that is not a typo. Oh how I wish it was. It is unfortunately true that, in a matter of just a few minutes, my 5-year-old was able to send Facebook $140 from my PayPal account. Shocking, right? Turns out it's a lot easier than I thought.

Let me backpedal for a minute and start by saying that my son has done this once before, just a few weeks ago. Only difference was, that time it was only $2.99, and I got my Facebook notification fast enough to catch him before he was able to purchase any more. I quickly scrambled, Googling how to prevent this from happening again, and found the Payments option under Settings. There is an option there that you can toggle On or Off that says it will prompt you for your Facebook password before sending money. After that first time I noticed that mine was set to the "Off" position by default. Phew. I switched that baby on and (incorrectly) assumed I was now protected.

So, under that assumption, when Brayden asked me if he could play the game on my laptop with me sitting right behind him with full view of the screen, I said "Sure!". I did make it clear before he started that there would be NO purchasing and NO sharing. He agreed to the terms, and so he played.

After about a half hour one of the twins started crying so I had to get up to get a bottle from downstairs. "I'll be right back, Brayden," I said. I was gone for 2, maybe 3, minutes total.

I came back upstairs and noticed the blue light flashing on my phone, letting me know that I had a notification. I looked at my phone to see that I had 8 Facebook notifications.WHOA! I hadn't posted anything lately so I thought, "Ooh, cool! Something must be going on!"

Then, after about 5 seconds, the realization set in. All those notifications were actually RECEIPTS!

Count 'em up people. 8 notifications, totaling $140. My 5-year-old was able to purchase ONE HUNDRED AND FORTY DOLLARS worth of gold bars on Candy Crush in approximately ONE MINUTE.


I'm not proud of it, but I totally had a Mommy Meltdown. Screaming, yelling, stomping around the house...thinking we were out $140 on a computer game. Not one of my finer moments.

Evidently, it made quite an impact on Brayden. At the end of my tantrum, I went looking for him and found him downstairs at the kitchen table. Before I got any words out, he handed me this...

A graphic depiction of my rage. Him holding his ears. Even a dollar sign, showing me he knew exactly why I was mad. And, of course, a warning to all others who come close.


Great. Please, don't all call DCFS at once.

And - even after all that - he tells me that his Candy Crush goal was to spend $30,000 on power-ups so that he can pass the level. At least he thinks my bank account is Trump-worthy.

At the end of it all, Brayden was grounded from all electronics for one whole week (any suggestions on how to entertain a 5-year-old without a TV, tablet, or computer are greatly appreciated), and Facebook did quickly refund the money. Just know that the refund was a one-time-only deal. If it happens again - even if it's for the $30,000 original goal - I would be owing Facebook ALL of the money.

Moral of the story: The Facebook password setting for payments does NOT work for apps. I suggest signing off of Facebook if your kids like playing Facebook games, or logging off the computer all together to make sure this doesn't happen to you too.