Little girl uses mum's iPhone for shopping spree

Ashlynd, six, used her sleeping mum's thumb to unlock her iPhone and proceeded to order US$250 (S$363) worth of Pokemon items on Amazon.
Ashlynd, six, used her sleeping mum's thumb to unlock her iPhone and proceeded to order US$250 (S$363) worth of Pokemon items on Amazon.PHOTO: COURTESY OF BETHANY JOHNSON HOWELL

LITTLE ROCK (Arkansas) • Santa Claus may soon be in the market for a new career in the era of online shopping, if an incident that happened over the holidays in the United States is any indication.

Like mothers sometimes do during the busy season, Mrs Bethany Howell of Little Rock, Arkansas, fell asleep on the couch.

Her six-year-old daughter Ashlynd jumped at that opportunity to play Santa for herself. She grabbed her mother's iPhone, and her exhausted mother's thumb to unlock it - then proceeded to order herself US$250 (S$363) worth of Pokemon items on Amazon.

The incident was one of several reported in a recent Wall Street Journal article on how online shopping was taking the joy out of Christmas.

Mrs Howell was so tired she did not realise what had happened until she opened her iPhone the next day to discover to her shock that Amazon had confirmed 13 orders for Pokemon products.

At first she thought she had been the victim of online theft. But her suspicions soon turned to little Ashlynd.

Mrs Howell told the Daily Mail: "My phone was sitting on the coffee table next to the couch. Ashlynd picked it up and used my thumb to open the phone."

She said her daughter had confessed: "No mummy, I was shopping. But don't worry, everything that I ordered is coming straight to the house."

Mrs Howell said Ashlynd was "really proud of herself" . While her daughter had used her iPhone to watch videos on YouTube before, she told the Daily Mail that she did not realise Ashlynd knew what Amazon was.

The fact that Mrs Howell had saved her credit card number and other personal details on the online app made it easy for Ashlynd to do her own shopping. Reportedly, Amazon was not in the Christmas spirit and allowed Mrs Howell to return only four of the items.

Mrs Howell then told Ashlynd that she would not be getting all the toys on her wish list after all, saying: "Well, Santa found out and this is what Santa is going to bring you for Christmas."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 29, 2016, with the headline 'Little girl uses mum's iPhone for shopping spree'. Print Edition | Subscribe