What Is Credit Card Fraud?

Credit card fraud is when someone buys, sells, or forges fraudulent credit cards, uses an expired one, another person’s, etc. This can also include debit and ATM cards—any cards that can be used for financial transactions. The consequences for this type of offense can be severe, which is why hiring a competent credit card fraud lawyer in St. Petersburg is so vital.

The “State Credit Card Crime Act” considers most of these crimes misdemeanors. For it to be considered a first degree misdemeanor, there must be two offenses within a six month period, and a value obtained of less than $100. However, it is also possible if three or more fraudulent acts were committed within a six month time frame, with value obtained of more than $100, for the crime to be charged as a third degree felony. As a misdemeanor, most crimes involve imprisonment time, up to a year, and fines up to $1,000. If it is a felony, imprisonment can be up to 5 years, and fines up to $5,000.

For a defendant of credit card fraud to be convicted in Florida, the prosecution must be able to prove the defendant forged or stole the credit card with intent to obtain money, goods, or services. It also needs to be provide that the defendant was aware the card was unlawfully obtained, and/or acted as the card holder.

There are a number of defenses your St. Petersburg credit card fraud lawyer can use for your case, including no intent or that authorization was given by the card holder. Another possibility is double jeopardy. These crimes are unique in their nature; even if multiple offenses were committed, if they occurred within a six month time period they will be charged as a single crime, not individually. A person can only be convicted of one offense, so any subsequent charges may be subject for dismissal.

Florida Statue 817.61, defines the Fraudulent Use of Credit Cards as someone who “Uses a credit card with the intent to defraud a merchant, And the credit card was: a. Unlawfully obtained, b. Known to be forged; or C. Presented under the pretense the actual credit card holder authorized the use. 3. And obtains money, goods, services, or anything else of value from the merchant.”

Even if you received goods obtained with a fraudulent credit card, or use one knowing it is expired or revoked, you can still be charged with a misdemeanor. Many credit card fraud crimes are interrelated with identity theft, application fraud, account takeover, skimming, carding, tele phishing, or balance transfer checks.

Technologic advancements have made it easier to commit fraud, as you do not need to have the physical card, just the data associated with the account.

Tips to avoid credit card fraud:

  • Don’t give the card number online or over the phone, unless you are the one initiating contact.
  • Only purchase materials from verified websites.
  • Report any lost or stolen cards immediately to the issuers.
  • Sign all cards right when you get them.

For a free consultation with a St. Petersburg credit card fraud lawyer, call Scott Flint, former Florida Assistant Attorney General, with over 17 years industry experience. 727-483-8404.