What Is Credit Card Fraud?

mastercard credit card

Under 18 U.S.C. § 1029, it is a felony offense to knowingly intend to defraud a person and:

  • Cause or arrange for another person to offer a credit card system member or agent one or more records of transactions made using an access device for profit without the permission of the credit card system member or its agent
  • Effect transactions with one or more access devices issued to another person to receive funds or anything of value during any one-year period that is greater than or equal to $1,000
  • Possess 15 or more counterfeit or unauthorized devices
  • Produce, traffic in, or have control or custody of a scanning receiver, which is a device used to intercept wire or electronic communications
  • Produce, traffic in, possess, or have control or custody of software or hardware that has been created to insert or modify telecommunication identifying information associated with or contained in a telecommunications instrument so that the instrument can be used to obtain telecommunications service without authorization
  • Produce, use, or traffic on or more counterfeit access devices
  • Solicit a person with the purpose of selling information or an application to obtain an access device or of offering an access device
  • Traffic or use one or more unauthorized access devices during any one-year period and obtain anything valuing $1,000 or more

An access device includes any means of account access that can be used (alone or with another access device) to obtain money, services, or goods or to transfer funds, such as any:

  • Code
  • Plate
  • Card
  • Account number
  • Electronic serial number
  • Mobile identification number
  • Personal identification number
  • Telecommunications service, equipment, or instrument identifier
  • Other means of account access

Violations of this statute are punishable by up to 15 years of imprisonment, a hefty fine, and the forfeiture of the personal property used or intended to be used in the commission of the offenses. It is important that a second-time offense under this statute is punishable by a fine and/or up to 20 years of imprisonment.

Credit card fraud is also often prosecuted in connection with identity theft, mail fraud, wire fraud, bank fraud, telemarketing fraud, and/or identity theft. Depending on the specifics of your case, you can face additional charges based on the type of fraudulent scheme supposedly committed.

What Are the Different Types of Credit Card Fraud?

Credit card fraud can occur in a variety of ways, including via text, in-person, online, or over the phone. Common types of credit card fraud schemes include:

  • Account takeover. Using stolen personal information, a person can contact creditors and credit card companies pretending to be the cardholder so they can change their PIN numbers and account passwords. Once this information is changed, they can take over ownership of the credit card account.
  • Card-not-present fraud. This occurs when a person steals another person’s credit card and personal information to use the information in making purchases online or over the phone. Since there is not a person to check the physical card or the purchaser’s identification, this type of fraud is hard to prevent.
  • Credit card application fraud. Using stolen personal information, a person can apply for a new credit card, which can go undetected until the supposed victim checks their credit report or applies for a new line of credit.
  • Credit card skimming. Skimmers are devices that copy credit card information from the magnetic strips on the back of the card. To obtain access to the black strip, people often attach skimmers to credit card readers at bank ATMs, gas station pumps, retailers, and other locations. Once they have copied the information, the person can sell or use the information themselves.
  • Lost or stolen cards. A common scheme involves stealing someone’s card or using a lost credit card. People not only steal them from wallets but also can intercept cards sent in the mail.

Let Us Help You Build a Solid Defense

Backed by over two decades of experience, The Law Office of Jody L. Fisher can help you or a loved one mount a solid, personalized defense strategy. Credit card fraud carries serious penalties, and with your rights, freedom, and reputation at stake, you can trust our team to provide you with high-quality, aggressive legal counsel and help you fight to achieve the best case results possible.

Schedule case consultation today by calling (352) 503-4111 or completing our online contact form.

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