17 Jan 2019

Boy, 6, spends $500 of mum's money on online game

12:47 pm on 17 January 2019

A Hamilton mother has been left devastated after her six-year-old son clocked up a $500 debt on the online game, Fortnite.

A boy plays Fortnite.

A boy plays Fortnite. Photo: AFP

Max Coyle, who works at the Western Community Centre, said the woman came into the centre distraught as she is on an extremely tight budget.

She had only realised the money was missing from her account when an automatic payment bounced.

Mr Coyle said he was able to help her organise a refund from Fortnite, which is free to play but has in-game purchases.

"It was a huge huge relief for her and her boy was there and you could tell he was quite devastated.

"I think he was just old enough to realise how much money had sort of disappeared from mum's account and he was quite sad and sorry."

Netsafe chief technology officer Sean Lyons said this kind of incident was not confined to Fortnite players.

He said parents needed to be aware of what their children are playing and keep their bank account details safe.

Netsafe's website recommends that if a game requires a credit card to make purchases and a parent agrees to linking their card, that they remove credit card information after each purchase.