After the holiday season, credit card transactions are some of the last things people want to think about, especially if their lists for gifts and parties rivaled Santa’s naughty and nice list. But credit card fraud is a fairly common crime in today’s society, as many people rely on credit cards for every purchase—from the newest TV to a grocery store run for milk and eggs. People use credit cards at thousands of vendors every day, in person and online, and no matter how secure the site or the store, fraudsters can steal credit card numbers, the digital code in the card’s magnetic strip, or the card itself.
Although credit card fraud is considered a white-collar crime – and there are several white-collar crimes that involve fraud – this particular type of fraud stands apart and is handled differently in court. A person can commit credit card fraud in a variety of ways, and those who are charged with this type of fraud may face additional criminal charges and penalties. It’s important to contact a criminal defense attorney right away in order to protect your rights.
What Counts as Credit Card Fraud in New Jersey?
Obviously, stealing someone’s physical credit card and using it to run up charges is considered credit card fraud, but there are several other actions that fall under this category of fraud. These acts include:
- Using a credit card number fraudulently
- Taking or receiving any items purchased with a fraudulent credit card, if you know that fraud was committed
- Providing false information (social security number, bills, etc.) to open a credit card
- Stealing incomplete credit cards with the intent to complete them fraudulently
Although some of these offenses require that the fraudster actually use the illegally obtained card to make purchases, not all of them require it. You can be charged with credit card fraud even if you haven’t purchased anything. Offenses that do not require a purchase are covered under N.J.S.A. 2C:21-6(b)-(c). For those crimes that involve actions beyond simply the intention to defraud, N.J.S.A. 2C:21-6(d)-(h) covers these.
Common Charges for Credit Card Fraud
In New Jersey, taking another person’s credit card is one of the most common ways that fraud is committed. Charges can arise from stealing the physical card or using the card or card numbers that you found, were given, or transferred to yourself without the owner’s consent or knowledge. If you sell or purchase a credit card from someone else who is not the owner or issuer, you could also be charged with a crime. These crimes are usually charged as third or fourth-degree crimes in New Jersey.
Know What You’re Up Against
At The Gorman Law Firm, our Morristown and Essex County white collar crime defense lawyers represent anyone who has been charged with credit card fraud in any way. For more information on credit card fraud and crimes in New Jersey, or to ask for a consultation on your specific case, contact Scott Gorman and his team today.