A pricey mistake: How to avoid accidental in-app purchases

MILWAUKEE -- It's not an uncommon problem -- a kid playing on a smartphone and making purchases without even realizing it.

One area mom shared her experience with FOX6's Contact 6. Her daughter spent more than $1,000 while using the app Musical.ly. The mother didn't want to go on camera for fear of embarrassing her daughter, but other parents can learn from her experience.

Steve Van Dinter, Verizon's technology expert, says it's not difficult for this to happen.

"If your phone isn't set to notify you when a purchase is made, you could get hit with a surprise at the end of the month," he said.

Van Dinter says parents can take control over their family's smartphone purchases by enabling purchase notifications. It's an option that's available on both Android and Apple devices.

Steve Van Dinter, Verizon's Tech Guy

"Everything from not requiring a password for any purchase, to requiring a password of a thumbprint for each purchase that is made," Van Dinter said.

It's something that's not just good for kids. It can be beneficial for adults as well because it's easy to make accidental purchases.

"We click on things that pop up, so you know, I think it's second nature, with terms and conditions and all that, some of us just click on a button when it pops up," Van Dinter said.

If you've already paid to download an app, you may not even be prompted to authenticate any future purchases, which is why purchase notifications can be helpful.

And, remember, even some free apps have in-app purchases.