Almost everyone knows someone who has been a victim of credit fraud in today’s society. We rely heavily on our credit cards for everything from staple purchases like groceries and gas to luxury items like watches, designer dresses and jewelry. Credit cards also make it easy to shop online by just punching in a string of numbers and a security code to complete a transaction.
That said, because credit cards are so widely used, it is not too difficult for someone to gain access to another person’s account and run up charges and purchases using that individual’s credit card number — or even a cloned copy of the card itself.
In New Jersey, credit card fraud is considered a third degree crime and it comes with a potential jail sentence of three to five years. In more extensive circumstances, depending on the amount of the fraud and the particulars of the case, credit card fraud can be treated as a fourth degree crime, with a potential 18-month prison sentence.
Types of Credit Card Fraud
There are a variety of types of credit card fraud, each of which can be used to illegally obtain funds, goods, or services from another person’s account without their authorization. Below is a list of the most common types of credit card fraud:
- Theft of the card – A person steals someone’s physical card and uses it without their knowledge or consent.
- Online use of the card – A person hacks someone’s computer or bank account and steals credit card numbers and the other required information (expiration date, name, or security code) to use for online purchases.
- Copying credit card numbers – A store employee copies a credit card number from a sales receipt and uses the number for purchases.
- Skimming – An electronic device reads the card’s magnetic strip and copies the card number.
- Generating new numbers using a BIN generator – A person can use a valid credit card number to generate other card numbers for use.
- Transferring funds – A person can use an illegally obtained credit card number to transfer funds into their own accounts.
What Happens If You Are Charged?
If you are charged with credit card theft or fraud, you may be facing second, third, or fourth degree charges, depending on the value of the items you purchased with that card. Most credit card theft crimes range from $200-$500, and are considered fourth degree crimes, which, as we said, could be penalized with 18 months in prison.
However, for thefts involving $500 – $75,000 in stolen goods, a person can be charged with a third degree crime, and could spend up to five years behind bars. Items of value above $75,000 can result in second degree criminal charges, and carry a ten-year maximum sentence limit.
For more information on credit card theft, and what to do if you have been charged or caught using someone else’s card information illegally, contact Scott Gorman at The Gorman Law Firm. Scott, a leading Morristown criminal defense attorney, can help you build a case to defend yourself against credit card fraud charges.
Published in Categories: Criminal Defense