Facepalm: It seems no matter how many times it happens, teenagers are still managing to spend thousands of dollars of their parents’ money without them realizing. While this usually goes on in-game purchases, the latest incident saw almost $20,000 spent on Twitch streamers.
According to a post on the Twitch subreddit from the teen’s mother, the minor spent years of savings in just 17 days using a debit card. The boy paid for subscriptions, which can go as high as $24.99 per month, bought Bits—virtual goods used to Cheer in chat messages—and made uncapped donations to various streamers.
Speaking to Dot Esports, the mother said that $19,870.94 was charged to a debit card between June 14 and 30. Some of the money went to popular streamers, including Tfue, Gorb, and Ewokttv, as well as athletes including Atlanta Falcons quarterback Kurt Benkert and Miami Heat’s Meyers Leonard.
How did the son get access to so much cash? It seems he was given a debit card with a “nominal balance” to buy school dinners, but he started transferring money from his mother’s bank account onto the card to pay for his Twitch spending. She believes he might have seen her password while transferring money to his account for completing chores, or she might have left herself logged in. As the mother only checked her account twice per month, she never realized how much was missing until it was too late.
“I contacted my bank as soon as I found out and they froze all of our accounts, and his debit card was canceled,” she said. “Unless I press charges against my son, they will not help as this is considered friendly fraud.”
Also known as chargeback fraud, friendly fraud occurs when a consumer makes an online shopping purchase with their own credit card, and then requests a chargeback from the issuing bank after receiving the purchased goods or services.
The mother said Twitch has failed to respond to her pleas for over two weeks, while company owner Amazon told her to contact Twitch directly. Maybe Jeff Bezos could use some of the $13 billion he made on Monday to help her out?
While the bank and Twitch/Amazon don’t appear too willing to assist, contacting the streamers directly and asking if they’d return the donations could be an option.
We’ve seen plenty of cases where kids somehow manage to spend thousands on microtransactions: $6,000 on Roblox, $8,000 on FIFA, $7,500 on in-app purchases. But this is one case where the parent claims responsibility, rather than blaming the entities that accepted the money.
“I work too many hours, and have not paid close enough attention to what he was doing online,” she said. “His internet knowledge has absolutely surpassed mine […] My focus now though is trying to figure out why he did it so I can make sure this is the one giant mistake he makes in his life.”
Image credit: fizkes