LAKEVILLE, Minn. – A Minnesota mother says her 8-year-old son was pressured into sending photos of her personal information in exchange for Fortnite “V-Bucks.”
Fortnite has been a summer pastime for 8-year-old Charlie Pearson, but it’s been something else for his mom.
"It's been a rollercoaster with Fortnite for sure," said Krista Kneeland-Pearson.
Even though the game is free to play, Krista quickly learned that things like costumes and dance moves require "V-bucks," which translate into real bucks.
"He started spending a lot of money without even realizing what he was doing," Krista said.
Though she quickly put a stop to the spending, and limited screen her son's screen time, Krista recently encountered something even more concerning when she woke up in the middle of the night.
"I noticed that his door was locked but I could see that the light was on," she said. "When I looked in his room my purse was on the floor, actually two purses were on the floor."
Krista then discovered a string of messages on the game, followed by phone calls and texts from North Carolina, all prompting her son to secretly send photos of cards he pulled from her wallet, including the front and back of her driver's license.
"I really didn't want to do it," Charlie said. "They just kept on telling me to and then I didn't want them to get mad at me, so I just did it."
"(Charlie) said, 'He told me that if I showed him this stuff, that he would give me V-bucks,'" Krista said. "Specifically, he was looking for my Visa."
Krista filed a report with Lakeville Police, but the investigation is already proving difficult.
"Unless somebody takes steps to do something with that information, it isn't a crime to possess it," said Lieutenant Bill Gerl. "You just have to educate your kids and let them know that you should never be giving a stranger information about yourself online."
It's a conversation Charlie and Krista had last week.
"I learned not to do that again," Charlie said.
Charlie also learned he's done playing Fortnite for a while, but Krista says her rollercoaster ride continues.
"It makes me really nervous," she said. "What is going to happen with all of my information? On top of that, how scary it is that this guy was able to talk to Charlie into doing something behind my back?"