With the advancement of technology, paying for things has become easier. However, with that convenience comes a security risk. It’s also become easier for people to steal your credit card information. As a result, the courts take a strong stance against those who are facing credit card fraud charges.The crime comes with severe penalties. If you find yourself facing fraud charges, you need the help of an attorney. There are various ways that your lawyer can help you.
What is credit card fraud?
Credit card fraud occurs when you steal someone’s personal financial information. Often, the crime results in the suffering of the credit rating and finances of the victim. A person who is a victim of the fraud could spend years trying to fix their finances. Meanwhile, the thief uses the victim’s credit card information to make various purchases. These purchases can be small or large and can occur once or many times.
Although you might think that this criminal charge only involves the theft of a credit card, it could involve a debit card. In either case, the accused must use the card without your authorization to make a purchase. If you allow someone to make a purchase on your card, then there can be no credit card fraud charges.
Most victims of fraud find out about the crime soon enough. Once they do, they usually contact a lawyer to get help. It is possible for victims to track down the criminal.Once they do, the criminal usually faces charges. In order to beat those charges, he requires the help of an experienced lawyer.
How does the fraud occur?
There are several ways that the fraud can occur. In all the cases, the credit card or debit card use needs to be fraudulent. Here are a few common types of fraud:
1. Using your own invalid card
In some cases, a person uses their own credit card that they canceled. If you knew your card was invalid and you used it anyway, you could be guilty of fraud. However, there are limitations to these charges. Everyone makes mistakes. If you didn’t realize that your card was invalid, it’s unlikely that you will face charges. For prosecuting, a lawyer needs to show that there was a fraudulent intent. Mistakes and accidents don’t meet the legal requirement.
2. Counterfeiting or forgery
Making a fake credit card can lead to fraud charges. Whether you buy a counterfeit card or make your own, the penalties can be strict. Using the fake card is an act of fraud that can get you years in jail.
3. Stealing someone else’s credit or debit card
Physically stealing the credit card of another individual is grounds for credit card fraud. Stealing and using that card to make a purchase is illegal. As a result, you could find yourself under arrest.
4. Stealing someone’s credit card information
You don’t need to physically steal a credit card to be guilty of fraud. In fact, it’s common for people to face fraud charges for the theft of information. Online, you can steal an individual’s credit card information. Using that information, you can make an online purchase. While you may not have stolen any physical property, you still committed a crime.
5. Using a credit card in an unauthorized way
If someone gives you their credit card, you still need to treat it as their card. You cannot make unauthorized purchases with their card. If you do, you could face credit card fraud charges. As soon as the card’s owner reports the unauthorized charges, you could find yourself in legal trouble. The card’s owner has a right to file criminal charges against you.
What are the penalties?
The penalties for credit card fraud vary depending on your state. However, all states take the crime seriously. You could face years in jail and thousands of dollars in fines. If the court finds your situation to be less serious, you could get a misdemeanor. In this case, the jail time is less and the penalty is less. It all depends on the circumstances of your case.
When determining your charges and penalties, the court will consider a few details. First, there’s the amount of money in damages. If you stole under a certain amount, the crime might only be a misdemeanor. But stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars in fraud could have harsh penalties.
Another important detail is your criminal history. If you have none, the court might offer you a more favorable sentence. Meanwhile, repeat offenders could face harsher sentences.
Finally, the court will react to your defense attorney. Hiring one with experience in credit card fraud can get you a better outcome. With her help, you might be able to get a lesser sentence or a dismissal of charges. The lawyer needs to understand how the world of finances works and how you can defend the charges. Fraud is much different than other criminal charges. However, a lawyer with experience in the niche knows how to handle your case.