My kid charged $2,500 in online video game purchases to my credit card — here’s what happened


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For the most part, my husband and I charge all our regular bills and expenses to credit cards to rack up rewards. Then, a few times per month, I sit down to look over our charges and pay our credit card bill in full.

This is exactly what I was doing in the middle of July when I sat down to go over my Chase Sapphire Reserve® bill. On this particular day, however, I got the shock of my life!

In addition to the regular charges on my account that would normally be there — charges for groceries, dining, and utility bills, for instance — I also had hundreds of Roblox charges on my account.

Hundreds of separate charges, and that is not an exaggeration.

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I immediately went into panic mode and began thinking of how this could have possibly happened. My preteen children both have the game in question — Roblox — on their phones, but they had never made a bunch of charges on their accounts. Plus, I knew for a fact my husband had set up purchase authorization on their phones, which means they would have had to have known and entered our private security code.

My kids aren’t perfect by any means, but I just knew they didn’t do that.

I started adding up the charges. In total, there were $2,500 in purchases made with Roblox on my Chase Sapphire Reserve® account. Some of the charges were for $0.50 or $0.88, while others were for $19 or $39 or even $75 in some cases.

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My husband and I managed to get into our youngest child’s Roblox account on her phone, and that’s when we figured out what happened.

Roblox scam and lessons learned

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When my daughter got home from school that day, my husband and I interrogated her about the many Roblox charges found on her account. Ultimately, we found out that she had been logging into the Roblox game through a third-party website that had been promising her extra Roblox points for doing so.

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In the meantime, my daughter’s phone had recently been through an update that effectively removed parental oversight and authorization for purchases. Of course, we did not realize this had happened until after the fact.

We’re not exactly sure how the scam worked from there, and perhaps we’ll never know, but that at least made sense. After all, many of the charges on her account took place in rapid sequence, and often in several increments of $20 to $50 within a single minute. Even if our daughter had decided to make purchases on Roblox, the sheer number of purchases and the amount of money spent were insane. There’s no way she would have done any of that.

Obviously, we took the opportunity to explain to our child that she should never share her log-in credentials with anyone else — even a third-party site that was offering her something for free. We explained to her what had happened, and that this site had somehow hacked her account and made all these charges.

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She was devastated, mostly because she had no idea! She was also extremely worried that we wouldn’t get out $2,500 back since the charges were clearly made in her Roblox account.

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How we got our money back

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

While I was definitely stressed about seeing so many unauthorized charges on my credit card, I wasn’t too worried about resolving the issue. After all, I had a Chase credit card linked to my account, and Chase is known for its excellent protection against unauthorized charges. I have also had plenty of success disputing fraudulent charges on other Chase accounts in the past, so I had confidence it would all work out.

The day I noticed the charges, I immediately called Chase to initiate a dispute on all the fraudulent Roblox charges on my card. We also notified Apple about the fraud since they initiated the Roblox payments on my daughter’s iPhone.

I was granted a temporary credit for all the charges right away, but they were all wiped from my credit card account within a week. I was incredibly relieved to see this happen, but we still removed all payment methods from my daughter’s phone just to be on the safe side.

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Bottom line

I’m not thrilled with the situation that went on with my kid’s Roblox account, but the situation did underscore something I believed in already. I never, ever link my actual bank account to anything, and I never use my debit card for purchases, either. There is just too much that can go wrong when you do, and your liability for unauthorized charges is not the same as the $0 fraud liability credit cards offer.

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You don’t have to look very hard to find instances where fraudulent purchases were made and havoc ensued. For example, BBC News recently covered the story of a family with a child who spent 3,160 euros (around $3,700) on a game called Hidden Artifacts. The charges wiped out his bank account. The family contacted iTunes and the game manufacturer, yet they were unable to recoup the money as of publication.

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In another story that ran in The Guardian, an 11-year-old girl racked up 2,400 euros (around $2,810) in Roblox charges through her mother’s PayPal account. Ultimately, Apple agreed to refund a little less than 760 euros of the unauthorized charges, but the family was left on the hook for the rest.

At the end of the day, my Chase Sapphire Reserve® card comes with a slew of important benefits, but not all of them have to do with rewards. Zero fraud liability is an incredibly important cardholder benefit that should never be taken for granted.

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By: Holly Johnson
Title: My kid charged $2,500 in online video game purchases to my credit card — here’s what happened
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Published Date: Thu, 12 Aug 2021 11:51:27 -0400

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