Credit card fraud can encompass crimes of both fraud and theft. Credit card fraud is usually considered part of identity theft cases because it includes using fraudulent use of someone’s private information for financial gain.

Credit card fraud has been on the rise because more businesses and individuals conduct business and make purchases online. This increase in credit card fraud has led local and federal law enforcement to become increasingly aware and crack down on cases of credit card fraud. Many times law enforcement has a difficult time keeping up with credit card fraud schemes because technology and methods are constantly evolving to avoid the harsh punishments that come with credit card fraud. According to the Los Angeles police department, the California law upgraded types of identity theft in 1999 to become a felony in some cases. This is why finding an experienced credit card fraud lawyer in the Los Angeles area is so crucial in credit card fraud cases.

Common Types of Credit Card Fraud

Skimming: This happens when a device records the information from the magnetic strip.  Skimmers are small devices that are used to record the information from a credit card and can be well hidden. The devices are sometimes placed in retail or gas station point of sale systems and the information is either sold or used to create a clone of the credit card.

Application Fraud: This type of credit card fraud occurs when a person applies for a line of credit with someone else’s personal information. Many banks take extra steps to prevent this type of fraud from happening.

Card Not Present: This occurs when someone has found the credit card account number, expiration date and security code of the credit card. That person can easily make purchases online or over the phone, without having to physically have the credit card.

Lost or Stolen Card: This type of fraud occurs when someone has lost their credit card and it is used by another person other than the card holder. This is why many people cancel their credit cards when they are lost or stolen to prevent this type of fraud. This type of fraud also includes when someone takes a physical card that does not belong to them.

These are some of the common types of credit card fraud, but it’s important to remember that types of credit card fraud methods are always evolving and it may be hard to categorize and penalize credit card fraud cases.

Penalties and Punishments for Credit Card Fraud

Stolen Credit Cards: This can include possessing the physical card or the information for the credit card. This can be charged as either a felony or misdemeanor depending on the circumstances of the case.

  • Misdemeanor level penalties: Misdemeanor penalties include up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
  • Felony level penalties: Felony penalties can include up to one year in jail and probation, 16 months to three years in prison, and a fine up to $10,000.

Counterfeiting Credit Cards: This includes possessing incomplete credit cards with the intent to complete it. It also includes modifying or altering magnetic strips on credit cards. Making, possessing or selling the equipment used to make counterfeit credit cards is also included in this penal code.

  •  Misdemeanor level penalties:  A misdemeanor offense will usually occur if the credit card information is incomplete when possession was discovered. This penalty is up to six months in jail and a fine up to $1000.
  •  Felony level penalties: If the credit cards are altered, or you have been accused of possessing credit card information, these circumstances are grounds for the courts to consider felony charges. Felony penalties can include 16 months to 3 years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000.

Credit Card Fraud Lawyer Los Angeles

One possible defense for credit card fraud can include not having fraudulent intent. Many times defendants seek our help because the felony charges are harsh and having experienced representation gives them the best chance of getting a lighter sentence. Robert M Helfend has been defending fraud and identity theft cases in Los Angeles and surrounding areas since 1984. If you have been accused of credit card fraud in Los Angeles, you will need the very best legal defense on your side to be confident that you are fighting back against possible felony charges. To discuss the details of your case, contact our firm today.