'Hackers racked up $$$$s via the Android Play Store, and Google won't pay me back'

Cali woman accuses ad giant of, well, a lot of things

A California woman is suing Google, alleging hackers exploited the ad giant's inadequate security to run up thousands of dollars in charges on her Play Store account.

Susan Harvey, of Orange County, also accuses Google of refusing to reimburse her, and then after backing down and agreeing to refund the missing money, has not paid up as promised.

According to a lawsuit [PDF] filed in the Eastern California District Court this week, Harvey incurred the fraudulent charges after downloading a free game from the Play Store to her Android smartphone, and then upgraded the app to a full paid-for version.

Between March 2013 and August 2014, about 650 transactions were performed through the Play Store and charged to her bank account, nearly all without any notification or permission from Harvey herself, it is claimed. Her filing said the charges added up to thousands of dollars.

She then claims to have contacted police, her bank, the game's publisher, and Google, which, the suit alleges, ultimately concluded the transactions were in fact unauthorized and should be reimbursed.

"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," the suit reads.

"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 suit goes on to claim that Harvey's account and payment information was stolen by hackers directly from Google's servers, and the credentials could not have been obtained in any way other than a compromise on Google's end.

Harvey is accusing the Chocolate Factory of a litany of charges including negligence, invasion of privacy and violations of California's electronic funds transfer, unfair competition and data breach laws. She is requesting a jury determine and award monetary damages.

Google, based in Mountain View, California, declined to comment on the suit. ®

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