After getting into an argument with his parents, a boy from Australia took his mother’s credit card and booked a trip to Bali for himself.
The boy, who has not been named, is 12 years old.
He spent four days living the luxurious life at a four-star resort.
You would not think that a child so young could travel on his own, but he actually managed to do just that. He swiped his moms’ credit card and then researched which airlines would let him travel by himself and without a letter from his parents. Many airlines require a written and signed letter from parents.
He managed to find what has been described as a “cheap deal” to Indonesia; according to media reports, he booked his flight for a school day.
The boy actually managed to trick his grandmother into handing over his passport. With his swim trunks, sandals, sunglasses, and sunscreen packed—having grabbed his scooter—he made his way to the airport on a train. The young man was ready for a bit of adventure.
Upon arriving at the airport, the boy utilized a self-service checkout and managed to board a flight from Sydney to Perth, and he then boarded another flight that went to Denpasar, which is the capital of Bali.
When speaking to the media, the boy said that he was asked for his student identification and passport so as to verify that he was over the age of 12 and was in secondary school. He said that he was surprised no one at Perth’s airport wondered why he was alone.
Understandably, his worried parents reported him missing when he did not show up for school. By that time, however, he was enjoying his luxurious stay at the All Seasons Hotel.
Emma, the boy’s mother, described herself as shocked and disgusted. She said there is no emotion that could properly describe how she was feeling when she learned that her son had left the country.
The boy, however, said that it was a great experience—he wanted to go on an adventure.
It is not known at this time what sort of punishment the boy faced upon returning home or if he got in any legal trouble for committing credit card fraud. It is unlikely that his parents are terribly thrilled with him. He did get the adventure he was looking for, however.
While this story is remarkable in the sense that the child managed to travel internationally with a stolen credit card, the fact of the matter is that children frequently use their parents’ credit cards without getting permission first.
We’ve all heard of the children who managed to spend thousands of dollars on mobile app and music purchases.
In the United States, customers can’t be charged for purchases they did not authorize—and that includes purchases made by their children.
Back in 2014, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) made Apple pay out over $32 million in order to reimburse parents for unauthorized purchases made by their children in mobile apps. According to a FTC chairwoman, consumer protections apply no matter where business is being conducted—in person or online. The bottom line is that customers can’t be charged for purchases that they did not actually authorize.
The FTC’s complaint against Apple—and the tens of millions of dollars in refunds—are because Apple did not notify parents that entering a password allowed children to make unlimited purchases for 15 minutes without any further action from the parent.
There are many apps designed for children in Apple’s App Store, and many of those apps—some of which are free to play—allow the app’s user to make purchases inside the app. These purchases can cost as little as $.99, but they can also cost as much as $99.99.
According to the FTC, Apple received tens of thousands of complaints about unauthorized purchases made by children inside apps. One woman reported that her daughter spent over $2,500 in the app called “Tap Pet Hotel”. Other apps mentioned include “Tiny Zoo Friends” and “Dragon Story”. Many parents reported that their children spent as much as $500.