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Consumer Watch: Preventing accidental purchases


KOKH/file

Unauthorized purchases by kids using their parents' phones or tablets is happening nationwide.

It can be a bit of a funny story when packages show up at your house, and they are all gifts for your child that were ordered by your child. Well, funny until you check your bank account.

Unauthorized purchases have created such an uproar that the Federal Trade Commission sued Amazon several years ago, after in-app purchases were costing consumers big.

Sharing tech with your kids could still result in these kinds of mistakes, however, because of things like in-app purchases in any app store and one-click ordering that's meant to make your life easier.

So, if your kids use your tech, opt out of one-touch buying, and turn on protections on websites and on your phone.

“What you do is you turn on that restriction, and it will not allow any app to be purchased or in-app purchases if it is turned on, and it requires a password or a pin. It is a great way to make sure someone isn't racking up charges on those apps, “says Tabatha Thurman, WEOKIE financial education specialist.

Thurman adds that if parents see charges in their accounts probably made by their kids act fast. It happens so often that major sites like the google play and apple stores have forms for it.

“They actually have accidental forms that you can submit, if your child does do this. What they will do is that they will often times refund your money-- it is going to take a little while, but there are forms if you have proper receipts, “says Thurman.

There are also apps that can help prevent problems, like Kids Zone or Screen Time both on the Google Play Store and iTunes. If you share devices and turn these on, you can control the amount of time the phone can be used and block in app purchases. There are free and paid versions of these apps.

If you do see your child has made an accidental or unauthorized purchase your first call should be to the company the purchase was made from, and then let your bank know what happened.

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