$800 Minecraft Bill Leads to Felony Filing Against Ten-Year-Old

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Jamieson 90:
How does a ten year old get hold of an adult's credit card/details and then use it without notice.

How does a ten year old rack up a $800 bill over a month without anyone noticing?

Wouldn't you be concerned if your ten year old was so obsessed with a game to the level that they would spend so much? Where were the adults in this entire situation and how did they let it get so far?

Happened with my little brother, we usually have no money so we just assumed whatever money we had was going right out the door for a few weeks until we finally clocked on, your first thought to having no money is never "oh, its my family fucking me over".

The details were on the xbox from when my mum put them on and didn't realise that it was saving them and my brother doesn't have any concept of money. Especially as he plays games where he spends "money" all the time.

The last bit I agree with, but the first three are really, really easily explained.

Also, this happened in Nebraska. Where global warming doesn't exist and video games will rot your brain.

And Granny didn't necessarily understand the full ramifications of the police report. Several states have a $1K limit for felony, and an age limit. Maybe Nebraska feels that if you are old enough to work on a farm you should get the full treatment. Not living there looks better every single time I see them in the news.

These stories always make me question, how stupid must the parent be to give a 10 year old free access to their credit card. But ok, a 75 year old grandma may just not know the things so well after all no credit cards in her youth existed. Still, it seems that parents end up really irresponsibly here. at least this time thier not blaming minecraft or something like that.

Andy Chalk:
I did it back in the early 80s -

Andly, i am dissapoint :(

Seydaman:
...When did Minecraft introduce the ability to spend more money than the base purchase?

Aeshi:
<...>

Schadrach:
<...>

Church185:
<...>

My best guess is probate server microtransactions. ive been in servers that go "pay 5 dollars to get 50 diamond that you can use to buy stuff in our automated market" and stuff. never tried buying myself.

JoJo:
Seems like a waste of time and money bringing in charges in a case like this, better to let his family deal with the punishment rather than wasting public money and leaving a black mark on the poor kid's record. Hopefully someone in authority will see sense.

the way the article wrote is they had to press charges for bank to do a drawback.

Andrew_C:
The original article gives very little detail. Basically that he spent $800 and he was playing Minecraft. It could even be because his gramma is on an ancient dial-up line (seeing as it the backend of nowhere). Those things could get very expensive very quickly.

But that would mean dialup still exists in a first world country. Oh wait, its american, your right.

Dogstile:

The details were on the xbox from when my mum put them on and didn't realise that it was saving them and my brother doesn't have any concept of money. Especially as he plays games where he spends "money" all the time.

How old is your brother? It feels quite unrealistic unelss you allow a very young person to game there. My sister has understood the concept of money since she was 3. How? because we bothered to sit down and explain it to her. SHe may not understand how everything works, but she knows that you have to go, work, get money for it, which is limited, and you have to decide wheter you want to buy food or candy or clothes for it, the basics. It is beyond me how a 10 year old could not udnerstand it, especially since at 10 years i was already organizing my own (very little) bucget saving for my very own radio. (which still works btw).

Andy Chalk:
Kids unintentionally plowing huge charges onto their parents' credit cards is nothing new - I did it back in the early 80s - but it's unusual, and very unfortunate, that the system has this kid facing such serious trouble. Surely there must have been a way to resolve the matter without filing charges, and if not, surely any rational parent or grandparent would opt to eat the bill rather than throw their pre-teen child to the wolves of law enforcement. And yet, apparently not.

You seem to be assuming it was unintentional, but there's nothing in the linked article to suggest that is the case. While there aren't many details at all, I see no reason it couldn't have been a simple case of theft - kid takes card while granny isn't looking, granny doesn't appreciate having hundreds of dollars stolen.

Jamieson 90:
How does a ten year old get hold of an adult's credit card/details and then use it without notice.

Very easily. How many women do you know who keep a careful watch on their handbag 24/7? It wouldn't be at all difficult to swipe a card while granny is in the toilet or something.

How does a ten year old rack up a $800 bill over a month without anyone noticing?

Again, very easily. How often do you check your credit card statement. Most people just get a statement once a month, and won't have a clue anything untoward might be happening until it arrives or, as in this case, if the bank contacts them to say something looks suspicious.

Wouldn't you be concerned if your ten year old was so obsessed with a game to the level that they would spend so much?

I'm sure I would. But in this case you have no evidence the kid was obsessed to any level, and it wasn't her kid in the first place.

And lastly why the fuck would you file a police report against one of your own relatives, and a ten year old one at that?

Because the kid is a thief and that was the only way to get the money he stole back. As others have noted, just because someone faces possible felony charges and a possible maximum fine does not in any way suggest that the worst case scenario will actually happen. At most, the kid is likely to be tried as a juvenile and get a minor slap on the wrist. In all likelihood it won't even go that far, although a lot will depend on the details and background that we don't know here.

In fact I remember my brother racking up a 70 phone bill for Phantasy Star Online back when we were using dial up, and that's as far as it got because my parents were on the ball, and no they didn't notify the police; they did what any sane parent would do which was punish him and then dock his pocket money for a few months until he paid it off.

Good for them. Not everyone can afford to lose $800. A good scare by the police could be exactly what this kid needs to learn his lesson.

Strazdas:
How old is your brother? It feels quite unrealistic unelss you allow a very young person to game there. My sister has understood the concept of money since she was 3. How? because we bothered to sit down and explain it to her. SHe may not understand how everything works, but she knows that you have to go, work, get money for it, which is limited, and you have to decide wheter you want to buy food or candy or clothes for it, the basics. It is beyond me how a 10 year old could not udnerstand it, especially since at 10 years i was already organizing my own (very little) bucget saving for my very own radio. (which still works btw).

I think you missed the implication. How many games have a fantasy in-game currency? You don't scold a kid for buying that 8000g sword in an RPG. It's not real money, it's game money. You don't need to lack a concept of money to miss where a deceptive game switches between the two.

... still doesn't explain Minecraft, though. Really looking forward to clarifications on this story.

Let's play the "Wait and See" game on this one. The original article is only two sentences long and gives no details on anything. I'm interested to see what exactly he spent the money on, whether it be a server donation or a ton of copies of the game.

As for the felony filing, it's gonna be dropped. 99.9% of these cases have the kid go in front of a judge, get a stern talking to, then a fine before the case is dismissed.

It's still silly and stupid that this is even going to court, but that's how we roll in America.

JarinArenos:

Strazdas:
How old is your brother? It feels quite unrealistic unelss you allow a very young person to game there. My sister has understood the concept of money since she was 3. How? because we bothered to sit down and explain it to her. SHe may not understand how everything works, but she knows that you have to go, work, get money for it, which is limited, and you have to decide wheter you want to buy food or candy or clothes for it, the basics. It is beyond me how a 10 year old could not udnerstand it, especially since at 10 years i was already organizing my own (very little) bucget saving for my very own radio. (which still works btw).

I think you missed the implication. How many games have a fantasy in-game currency? You don't scold a kid for buying that 8000g sword in an RPG. It's not real money, it's game money. You don't need to lack a concept of money to miss where a deceptive game switches between the two.

... still doesn't explain Minecraft, though. Really looking forward to clarifications on this story.

Fair enough, if the game is intentionally deceptive about it thats not your brothers fault. Though i do think that games should be forced to make their real money sale go though theier website and not possible in game. this removes the chance of deception.

After reading all the commentary thus far, I'm gonna have to call fake until we are presented more substantiated information.

America, where they put felony charges on 10 year olds and will probably put him on trial as an adult. What a country indeed. Seriously though I think in terms of people having addictions to spending in some cases perhaps there should be a cap on what you can spend on a game in a given amount of time. That would seem the responsible thing to do from a developer to stop crazy cases like this and the negative publicity that goes with it.

octafish:
Just wanted to say: Excellent picture use on this story, it gave me quite a big smile when I saw it. Better safe than sorry, Starkweather was just a kid too, best to lock him up rather than give him a stern warning and dismiss the charges.

Uhhh... he's not a serial killer dude! Wow.

The 800 dollars must be a serious burden on the family for them to press charges.

And this must be the PC server-donation thing, I'm pretty sure you could buy every minecraft thingy on Xbox live and not even come close to 100 dollars. I wonder if they are even certain that he made the transactions himself or mistakenly gave the credit card information or his minecraft account password to somebody else.

Yeah, I'm gonna have to call bullshit on this story. This thread was designed just to get people to click on it.

Title, and article, should have mentioned that it probably isn't going anywhere. It's being made out to be more than it actually is.

This sounds really fishy to me.

I don't doubt that a ten year old charged stuff to his grandmother's credit card without permission and I'm not questioning that he could charge enough stuff for it to push it out of small claims and into serious theft territory. But he didn't do it "to play the online building game Minecraft" as the source article describes. To just play Minecraft as much as you like costs nowhere near $800 dollars. Buying a copy of the game costs twenty bucks and it doesn't have any DLC or in-game purchasing options that I'm aware of.

There must be more to this story - like the kid was running a minecraft server or website for months before she noticed the bill. Or he bought a ton of minecraft-related items, like those life-sized foam pick axes and creeper hoodies, due to his love of Minecraft. Even so, I imagine that Minecraft was only tangentially related to that much debt.

It sounds to me like the reporter heard "Minecraft" and latched on to it as another example of video games corrupting the youth. Unfortunately, none of the articles I could find hand any more information and since it is a youth case, we'll probably never know more than that.

On an unrelated note, can we please go back to regular Captcha checks? I really really hate these stupid Progressive ads.

Holythirteen:

octafish:
Just wanted to say: Excellent picture use on this story, it gave me quite a big smile when I saw it. Better safe than sorry, Starkweather was just a kid too, best to lock him up rather than give him a stern warning and dismiss the charges.

Uhhh... he's not a serial killer dude! Wow.

Mr. Chalk (and octafish too, I think) is doing a sly reference to Springsteen, not Starkweather. The photo is the cover of Springsteen's Nebraska album.

The phrasing "the town of Lincoln, Nebraska", that someone else in the thread noted, is a lyric from the title song (which was inspired by the Starkweather case).

Mr. Chalk must have his Bruce Pandora going at work. :)

Can't blame he grandmother for filing a police report, that's how insurance works in general and not everyone has eight hundred dollars to spare in the current financial climate. Imagine if she only has a small pension or worse.

Can't see this going far in court, probably get thrown out in two seconds and everyone is happy.

Seydaman:
...When did Minecraft introduce the ability to spend more money than the base purchase?

That was what I was wondering... I had no idea you could spend more money inside the game itself...

Please don't tell me there is a micro-transaction part of the game I've completely missed.

Sean951:
Odds are, they will put him in front of a very stern looking judge who will look down from his podium and ask him if he knows what he did. He will say yes, I accidentally spent lots of money with grammas credit card. The judge will ask him if the kid knows what he did was wrong and technically fraud/stealing/whatever. The kid will say yes sir, I'm very sorry sir. The judge will say good, I fine you $X for the court cost, case dismissed or whatever the jargon is, and everyone will go along their merry way,.

Or throw the gavel (or pick axe at him!)

See what I did?

.... I'll get me coat!

JoJo:
Seems like a waste of time and money bringing in charges in a case like this, better to let his family deal with the punishment rather than wasting public money and leaving a black mark on the poor kid's record. Hopefully someone in authority will see sense.

The Grandparents did make the complaint, the police and courts are obliged to handle the case after that. I understand they might be pissed but busting your 10yr old grandchild with a conviction that will follow him around? Thats lame, should have demanded the money back from their kids and let them punish him as they see fit.

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