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Woman using Android phone

It was last August when Susan Harvey attempted to download an app she had purchased earlier onto a different mobile phone. On her Google dashboard she was informed that 109 transactions had been credited to her account. As she clicked around trying to find out more information, she found there were nearly 650 total transactions that had been listed, most of them charges she had never made.

When she went through her bank records she realized that between April of 2013 and May of 2014, thousands of dollars had been taken from her in-app purchase bill account without her authorization. She decided to file a lawsuit against Google.

She filed her suit in the District Court of Eastern California and alleged that Google’s security was inadequate for keeping criminals from running up thousands of dollars of unauthorized charges from her account on Google Play. She also stated that Google showed no interest in reimbursing her in the beginning, and only came around when the lawsuit was imminent. Even then, they didn’t follow through, and she was left with a false promise.

File that under not my problem
Image by courtesy of Gotmojo handicraft shop from etsy.com

Google claimed that Harvey actually did make the purchases herself. That caused both Google and her bank (Bank of America) to request police reports. In the end, she was not reimbursed by either. That prompted a determined Harvey to spring into action on her own behalf.

She began to contact all the vendors who were listed on the transactions for her in-app purchase bill. When speaking with them she was told by almost all of them that those transactions were not part of their billing systems and were Google transactions, which meant that Google was receiving the money itself. It was after this that Google admitted Harvey was not the one who made the transactions, yet they still refused to her reimbursement.

Harvey continued to make noise until finally someone from the legal department at Google informed her that a refund was in the making. At the time of her filing not only had she not received a refund, but some of the fraudulent transactions had suddenly ‘disappeared’ from the account.

Keep calm and let hackers buy more apps

Harvey’s claim is based on the premise that Google Play had a flaw in the security that enables crooks to use her account for posting unauthorized transactions, and that Google was negligent in keeping her personal information safe and secure. She claims that Google allowed charges to go through by electronic fund transfer that never had her authorization.

Harvey is asking for monetary damages and requesting a jury trial. Google has taken a ‘no comment’ position.

Whatever the outcome, it shows how important it is to watch your identity and bank account information. By keeping a closer eye on the transactions, this kind of thing can be handled much quicker and not get to the excessive loss amounts suffered by Susan Harvey.

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