Credit card fraud is often prosecuted as a form of identity theft or as a kind of computer crime, depending on how it is perpetrated. It can occur in many ways – when consumers give their credit card numbers to unfamiliar individuals, when cards are lost or stolen, when mail is diverted from the intended recipient and taken by others, or when employees of a business copy the cards or card numbers of a cardholder.
Credit card fraud can also involve opening unauthorized credit accounts, skimming cards and creating duplicate fake credit cards with the same account information, running up unauthorized charges on existing accounts, and hijacking an account with enough information to report a card missing and to obtain a new card and make fraudulent purchases with it.
But not all cases amount to fraud. Sometimes, a credit card is used by a family member who had permission to use it, or perhaps believed she had permission to keep using it (after she used it initially). Sometimes, an employer authorizes an employee to use a company credit card, and there has been a legitimate misunderstanding about when the employee was to stop using the credit card.
In most states, credit card fraud is considered deception for monetary gain against both the owner of the credit card or debit card, and the bank or lending institution that issued the card. Prosecutors consider this kind of fraud a serious offense, and they generally work hard to seek convictions.
In fact, the law is broadly written to include every kind of offender, including those who use credit cards or debit cards known to have been canceled or expired or which belong to someone else without that person’s permission. In some jurisdictions, mere possession is enough – thus, just having a credit card that doesn’t belong to you with the intent to use it is enough for a fraud charge.
It is also against the law to buy or sell credit cards which are known to be stolen, or to accept them in commercial transactions.
The Law Offices of Mark S. Guralnick defends those who are charged with credit card fraud and related offenses. We will work to build a comprehensive defense strategy on your behalf. Available defenses may include duress, consent, entrapment, ignorance, abandonment of criminal purposes, infancy, and compulsion, depending what state your charges are pending in.
If you or someone you know has been implicated with credit card fraud or a related offense, please contact the Law Offices of Mark S. Guralnick at 1-866-337-2900 for a free case evaluation.