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Grandson racks up $9,000 Google Play bill without knowing; Grandma fights for a refund

Posted at 6:05 PM, Jun 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-25 13:07:35-04

PHOENIX (KNXV) - Saving your passwords and even your payment information on your phone may make online shopping a lot quicker, but it could also leave you open to some unexpected charges.

Kathy says she learned the hard way after she got a fraud alert from her bank.

"I was absolutely appalled. They had drained the entire checking and savings account," said Kathy.

Almost $9,000 was gone. She says even more surprising, all the money went to buy games through Google Play.

Kathy says she did link her bank card to her Google Play account to purchase just two games for her grandson who has autism. She was shocked to find out he racked up hundreds of charges in the days after.

She admits it was a mistake to not delete the card information after her purchases but says her grandson didn't know what he was doing.

Since the charges were all made in just a few days, she hoped her bank would have alerted her before her cash was gone. Instead, she says the bank allowed all the charges since she had bought from Google Play before.

"I OK'ed the first two charges, so they're basically saying, well, the others must be okay too," said Kathy.

Since the bank couldn't help, Kathy turned to Google.

"I heard nothing but crickets," said Kathy.

On its website, Google has a process for "reporting charges you don't recognize and requesting a refund." One reason listed includes, "a child may have played a game that resulted in accidental charges."

When we reached out to Google, they led us to the same webpage. We repeatedly asked if Kathy could speak to someone to clear this us and we got no response.

Through the link Google gave us, Kathy was able to get a $40 refund, but that is far from the $9,000 charged to the account. In the meantime, Kathy's bank has given her a credit to cover her bills, but she will have to pay it back if Google doesn't come through.

A big reminder: If you must, use a credit card on these accounts. Never a bank account, because if it's compromised the bad guys are getting their hands on your cash. Also, keep a close eye on anyone with access to your online accounts.

This story originally reported by Joe Ducey and Monica Williams on ABC15.com.

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