US Woman claims unknown hackers hacked her Google Play account and ran up thousands of dollars
One fine day in April, California resident, Susan Harvey tried to download a previously purchased app onto a second mobile phone, only to have Google’s dashboard tell her that there were 109 transactions on her account, which she hadnt done.
When she clicked on the transaction history button on Google’s site, to her surprise, Google had billed about 650 transactions in her name and she was not able to recognise any of them. She then cross checked with her bank records and the results were even more horrific for her. Her bank account which was automatically linked to the Google Play account, had been been drained of thousands of dollars.
She claims she approached Google who first refused to reimburse her for the unknown App purchases but afterwards relented and agreed to pay her. But up until now she has not been paid.
Now Susan is suing Google and last week filed a lawsuit against Google in the Eastern California District Court, for its inability to protect her from cyber criminals. Her complaint alleges that the search giants inadequate security enabled criminals to run up thousands of dollars in App purchases on her Google Play account that were then debited electronically without her sign-off.
Susan alleges that Google earlier stated that the transactions, Susan alleges as fraud, belonged to Harvey’s account. Both her bankers, Bank of America and Google requested police reports which Susan submitted but neither the bank nor Google paid her.
After their refusal to pay up, Susan, then approached all the Google Play publishers listed in the transactions list. Majority of the publishers told Susan that they didn’t recognise the transaction numbers as being part of their own billing. The vendors further told her that all the transactions were actually Google transactions and it was Google who received her money.
Armed with her findings, she approached Google again, which this time acknowledged that Susan hadn’t made the transactions, but it still refused to reimburse her.
After more complaining, Susan says Google’s legal department contacted her and told her the refund was in the works. However after waiting for a some period, Susan decided to approach the court of law.
Her complaint states, “After plaintiff repeatedly complained and advised Google of her findings, Google’s legal department contacted plaintiff and advised her that all transactions would be reimbursed.
To date, all transactions unauthorized by plaintiff have not been reimbursed and notably, some transactions previously identified as fraudulent have been erased from plaintiff’s account.”
The complaint alleges that there may be a flaw in Google Play that allowed cyber criminals to post bogus transactions to her account. It further states that that Google acted negligently by allowing her personal information to be breached and her identity to be stolen. And finally it says that Google broke breach notification law by not telling her about the problem.
The complaint also alleges that Google allowed electronic fund transfers, some of which were recurring, from her bank account, without her explicit permission. Susan has not requested the court for a jury trial and has demanded monetary compensation for the financial loss she suffered.
Google declined to comment about the lawsuit