Credit Card Fraud Law
What is Credit Card Fraud Law?
Credit card fraud law establishes criminal penalties for the deceptive or unauthorized use of another person’s credit card account in an attempt to steal money, goods, or services. Statutes prohibiting these types of crimes have been enacted at all levels of government. They are enforced by a number of agencies, from local police departments to the U.S. Secret Service. While resources are available to help victims of credit card fraud, attorneys practicing in this area of the law mostly deal with the issue from a criminal defense perspective.
Types of Credit Card Fraud Crimes
Schemes to gain control of credit card accounts are constantly evolving in order to evade law enforcement, but the most common crimes can be characterized in one of two ways. “Card present” crimes are those in which the victim’s physical credit card has been stolen. This category also includes schemes to apply for new credit cards in the victim’s name, or to change the address on the victim’s account and then request replacement cards. However it is accomplished, the thief comes into possession of the card itself, which is then used for purchases or cash advances.
All other types of credit card fraud fall under the category of “card not present” crimes. As the name suggests, these schemes do not require the thief to gain access to the victim’s physical card, or if they do, the card is returned to the victim without raising suspicion. The fraud is accomplished by recording the credit card number and other identifying information so it can be used online, over the phone, or in some other way that does not require the card to be swiped at the point of sale.
Card not present schemes can be the most difficult to detect, as the thief and the victim may be thousands of miles apart at the time the credit card information is stolen. Skimming machines placed onto ATMs and gas pump terminals are one example. These devices go unnoticed by customers, and secretly capture card data when the customer slides the card through the machine. Phishing websites are another example. These are fake websites that are built to appear like legitimate sites of companies that people trust with their financial information. Victims are tricked into logging into the fake site and entering their credit card number.
Penalties for a Conviction
When legislatures draft criminal statutes dealing with credit card fraud, an attempt is not made to identify and specifically prohibit every potential scheme. Rather, these laws are usually written in general terms meant to encompass the various types of fraudulent behavior, and then penalties are assigned based on the total dollar value of the items or cash obtained in the scheme.
For example, a typical state statute might make credit card fraud a misdemeanor if no property is obtained with the stolen card, or if the property does not exceed a modest amount such as $500. Such a crime would carry a maximum fine of $1,000 or so, and a sentence of up to one year in the county jail. As the value of the property received increases, so does the penalty. Felony credit card fraud in which property of significant value was obtained might be punishable by a $25,000 fine and 15 years in prison. Of course, anyone charged under a particular statute should research the penalties in that jurisdiction, or consult with a lawyer for assistance.
Criminal Defense for the Accused
Facing prosecution for any kind of white collar crime is a terrifying experience, but charges of credit card fraud can take an even greater toll on the defendant. Unlike other lesser-known financial crimes, credit card fraud carries a certain stigma, likely a result of the abundance of media coverage and public outcry over the problem of identity theft in recent years. This means local prosecutors are inclined to “make an example” of the defendant, making sure the community has the opportunity to see that those who commit these frauds are not treated leniently.
For those who plan to plead guilty, the public’s hostility toward credit card fraud makes it especially important to retain an experienced criminal defense attorney. It will be the attorney’s job to reason with the judge, so that he or she will come to understand the defendant’s personal circumstances, sorrow for past conduct, and commitment to leading a better life. For defendants who plan on going to trial, the attorney must review all of the state’s evidence for discrepancies, conduct an independent investigation, develop a winning trial strategy, and then present the case to the jury in convincing fashion. These are not tasks accused individuals should attempt on their own.
Retaining a Credit Card Fraud Attorney
A skilled credit card fraud attorney can be a powerful ally in the battle to prove one’s innocence or ensure a fair sentence is handed down. If you have been arrested, you need to know exactly how bad of a situation you are in, and what can be done about it. Contact an attorney now to have your questions answered.
Know Your Rights!
Articles About Credit Card Fraud
- Fair Credit Reporting Act and Improper Use of Personal InformationThe information provided by the Fair Credit Reporting Act is not for misuse or misreporting of credit details to those researching the individual person. However, sometimes, violations of the FCRA occur and harm the individual by lowering the credit score or leading to a denial or credit after the misuse occurs.
- Explanation of Identity Theft Laws in TexasIdentity theft occurs in Texas when an individual uses another person’s personal information to acquire goods, services or other things of value. Identity theft can result in significant consequences to the victim and years of affected credit. The instances of identity theft have increased throughout Texas and the nation over the last several years.
- What to Do After Identity TheftIdentity theft occurs when a person takes someone else’s personal information and uses it for financial gain, such as by getting credit cards in the victim’s name and running up debt under that person’s name while benefiting from the purchases. Identity theft can have a significant and adverse effect on a person’s credit and financial stability.
- Credit Card Fraud, Definitions and PenaltiesCredit card fraud can be a stand-alone offense or be a charge that is made in conjunction with other state or federal charges. Individuals convicted of credit card fraud face serious consequences.
- Five Steps to Take if You Are a Victim of Identity TheftUnfortunately when someone realizes that he or she is a victim of identity theft, this is usually become some negative result has already happened. A person may have been denied credit for which he or she believed would be a certainty. A letter may come in the mail regarding a debt of which the individual was never aware, or the Internal Revenue Service may send a notice of a large tax debt.
- How Do Hot Check Laws Work?Hot checks cost the local and national economy millions of dollars in lost funds that were due for goods and services from individuals and businesses. In response to this epidemic, states across the country have enacted strict hot check laws that are meant to punish the individual who writes worthless checks.
- Combatting Credit Card FraudCredit card fraud is a form of identity theft that involves an unauthorized use of someone's credit card information for the purpose of charging purchases to the account or removing funds from it. State and federal laws both come into play with relation to credit card fraud, as may your agreements with your credit or debit card issuer.
- White Collar Crime FAQsThe majority of my practice focuses on the defense of federal white collar crimes, which can be a confusing area of law for people who are unfamiliar with the system. In that vein, I've compiled some basic questions and answers regarding white collar criminal defense to help shed some light on the process.
- Theft Crimes and Using Fake ID's in Las Vegas - An OverviewUsing False Identification - According to law enforcement, technology and the Internet makes it easier than ever to obtain high quality fake identification. Unfortunately, some young people think that using false IDs are simply a rite of passage. There are also individuals who use the documents to conceal information that prevents them from obtaining decent paying jobs.
- Helping You Understand What Can Happen if You Issue a Bad CheckActually, the penalties for writing a bad check in New York State can be severe. Everyone knows you are not supposed to write bad checks. Even if you do so intentionally or repeatedly, you won’t be treated like you robbed someone on the street or in a home, right? Actually, the penalties for writing a bad check in New York State can be severe.
- All Criminal Law Articles
Articles written by attorneys and experts worldwide discussing legal aspects related to Criminal Law including: arson, assault, battery, bribery, burglary, child abuse, child pornography, computer crime, controlled substances, credit card fraud, criminal defense, criminal law, drugs and narcotics, DUI, DWI, embezzlement, fraud, expungements, felonies, homicide, identity theft, manslaughter, money laundering, murder, perjury, prostitution, rape, RICO, robbery, sex crimes, shoplifting, theft, weapons, white collar crime and wire fraud.
Credit Card Fraud Law - US
- Credit Card Fraud - Overview
Credit card fraud involves an unauthorized taking of another’s credit card information for the purpose of either charging purchases to the victim’s account or removing funds from the account. It is regarded as one form of identity theft.
- Credit Card Fraud - Wikipedia
Credit card fraud is a wide-ranging term for theft and fraud committed using a credit card or any similar payment mechanism as a fraudulent source of funds in a transaction. The purpose may be to obtain goods without paying, or to obtain unauthorized funds from an account.
- Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA)
The Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA) is a United States federal law enacted as an amendment to the Truth in Lending Act (codified at 15 U.S.C. § 1601 et seq.).
- Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)
- FTC - Consumer Information
This section of the FTC website offers practical information on a variety of consumer topics. The information here can help you avoid rip-offs and exercise your consumer rights.
- FTC - Filing a Complaint
The Federal Trade Commission, the nation's consumer protection agency, collects complaints about companies, business practices, identity theft, and episodes of violence in the media.
- Online Credit Card Fraud - Spam Laws
Credit card fraud has become such an issue that no precise number can truly defined the global losses. And while most financial institutions are rather sensitive about the subject, a report from the FBI indicated that credit cards were largely responsible for the $315 billion loss the U.S. endured from financial fraud in 2005.
- United States Secret Service - Criminal Investigations - Fraud
The United States Secret Service is responsible for maintaining the integrity of the nation's financial infrastructure and payment systems.
- USDOJ - Fraud Section
The Fraud Section plays a unique and essential role in the Department's fight against sophisticated economic crime.