A teenage Fortnite fan allegedly spent almost $20,000 in Twitch donations, bits, and subscriptions last month without his parents’ knowledge.
The mother, who preferred to remain anonymous to protect the identity of her son, told Dot Esports that her teenage child charged $19,870.94 to a debit card between June 14 and 30. After several failed attempts at getting the money back, she turned to Reddit for advice and its “wealth of collective knowledge.”
Her post, which garnered a lot of attention on the Twitch subreddit, detailed how “years of savings” disappeared in a matter of 17 days.
She says those donations went to popular Twitch streamers like Tfue, Gorb, and Ewokttv, as well as Atlanta Falcons quarterback Kurt Benkert and Miami Heat’s Meyers Leonard. The mother shared a screengrab of her bank statement to Dot Esports, showing close to $20,000 in spending and several large transactions sent to Twitch.
“When I saw the bank balances were almost gone, my lips started to tingle and I had to put my head down so I wouldn’t pass out,” she said. “I cried at first. I didn’t believe he could’ve done this.”
The son was given a debit card with a nominal balance to buy school lunches, the mother said. He then began transferring money from his mother’s account into his debit card to pay for the transactions through online banking. The mother believes her son might’ve seen her password while transferring money into his account for successfully completing chores, or that she didn’t log out properly. When confronted, her son knew he had spent a lot but was “shocked” when he saw the total.
Since she only checked her account’s balance twice a month when paying bills, the mother didn’t see the transactions 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.”
Friendly fraud, or chargeback fraud, is when a consumer makes an online purchase with their card and then requests the money back from their bank. The bank can’t help with issuing the funds back unless the mother presses charges.
The mother said she’s struggled to get through to Twitch and Amazon. She claims Twitch hasn’t responded in over two weeks, and Amazon has told her to contact Twitch directly. She has resorted to sending registered mail to Twitch CEO Emmett Shear and Amazon’s legal team, but claims she hasn’t heard back yet.
She also reached out to the five streamers about getting the money back. So far, only Benkert and Leonard have responded, according to the parent.
Ultimately, she said she bears the responsibility for the situation.
“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.”