Game App Scams

I like playing leisure games on my phone. I like it even more when playing the game lets me earn money.

What I don’t like are ads that take advantage of people who are desperate to make money in the time of COVID.

In other words, people like me. I’m still waiting on my disability and writing and making art and hoping for the best. I would rather be able to earn money through my work, but COVID has forced my target audience to choose between paying rent and feeding their children. It sucks, but it is what it is. I am unable to do most other jobs due to my health issues and duties as a stay-at-home mother to a disabled child and a very active toddler.

Soooo, when I saw an ad for a game that looked fun and claimed to pay out via PayPal and Amazon gift cards on the same day, I thought, “Well, why not? Every bit helps.” The game itself was a fun little puzzle app that was interrupted by an ad every time I earned a chest or got a bonus for clearing multiple lines.

I could live with that; after all, ad revenue is how these apps are able to let users earn prizes, right? Pretty soon, I had earned enough to cash out on PayPal.

The first lie was that there was no minimum to cash out. When I clicked on the PayPal icon in the game, it had a minimum cashout of $200. I had earned enough to cash out the $500 PayPal card, so I went with that. It asked for my email address, so I provided the one I use with my PayPal account. No big deal.

The second lie was that the PayPal money would be available to redeem within minutes. Instead, I was greeted with a timer saying my card was processing and would be available in 72 hours.

Oh, okay.

Then when I came back to the app to check my status again, it told me that I had to watch 100 ads AND wait three days to get my PayPal money. I was annoyed, but I shrugged and played the game and watched the ads.

72 hours later, a new timer popped up. Now it said that I had to wait 480 hours (20 days) to get my PayPal money. I was very annoyed because due to COVID and my lack of income, we had to split up our rent payment and defer our car payment. My kids were also outgrowing their clothes, and I needed some sundries myself. I figured I would wait and hope for the best. In the meantime, I earned enough to redeem $2000, $3000, and $5000 in PayPal cash, as well as enough pink gems to redeem for a $100 Amazon gift card. For each of those prizes, I had to watch 100 more ads and wait 72 more hours and 20 more days.

The third lie came when the first 20 days had ended. The app now says that the money was transferred to my PayPal account. It has been long enough that I should have $5500 in my PayPal account and a $100 Amazon gift card (which I redeemed with my same valid email address).

So far, nada.

I emailed the address listed with the account, but so far, they have not responded.

I’m not the only person out here who is trying to keep her family afloat in these challenging times. I’m furious that these scammers are taking advantage of good people who are trying to earn money however they can to provide for their families. I’m not sure if there’s anything that can be done, but I’m looking into it. It’s not fair that these people are exploiting vulnerable people and getting away with it.

If anything happens, I’ll be sure to provide an update.

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