In the internet age, credit card fraud has become far more prevalent. There are many variations of the crime, but for the most part, New Jersey treats credit card fraud as a third degree crime, carrying a possible prison sentence of 3 to 5 years. In some circumstances, credit card fraud is a fourth degree crime, carrying a possible prison sentence of 18 months.
Anyone using a credit card to obtain goods or services without the consent of the card owner can be found guilty of this crime. Offenders may also use credit cards to illegally transfer funds from someone else’s account.
Common Types of Credit Card Fraud
Altered card-Increasing a card’s credit limit without authorization, or adding a magnetic strip to a card.
Theft of a card - Using someone else’s card without their consent.
Internet theft - Stealing credit card numbers and other information through hacking.
Skimming – Using a sophisticated electronic device that reads a card’s magnetic strip.
Copying Sales Receipts - An employee or someone who copies the credit card number from a sales receipt for fraudulent use.
BIN Attacks - Credit cards are produced in bank identification number or BIN ranges. The BIN is the first six number of a Visa or MasterCard. If the card issuer does not use random generation of the card number, an attacker can obtain a good card number and generate valid card numbers by changing the last four numbers using a generator.
Hijacked Account - After obtaining unlawful access to a bank or other financial account, a scammer agrees to purchase a large item advertised online. The alleged buyer says he wants the shipping and handling to be covered by a third party and that they will send an extra payment, which comes from the hijacked account, to the vendor for this purpose. The vendor sends the money to the scammer by electronic transaction and the scammer is able to launder the funds. The transfer would otherwise be easily detected if they merely transferred the hijacked funds to their own account.
Using False Statements to Procure a Card - This is considered a crime of the fourth degree and carries a sentence of up to 18 months in jail, up to $10,000 in fines, along with restitution.
Carding Forums - These are underground internet groups set up to exchange and sell stolen credit card information and products and to exchange tips and techniques.
If you use a credit card to illegally purchase a product, you can be charged with second, third or fourth degree theft based upon the value of the fraudulently obtained item.
Most credit card thefts are from $200 to $500, constituting a fourth degree crime and up to 18 months in prison.
If the value of the item is over $500.00 up to $75,000, it is a third degree crime carrying up to 5 years in prison.
Anything of value that is at least $75,000 is a second degree crime with possible incarceration of up to 10 years.
Arrests usually occur when the police or fraud unit show up at your front door with an arrest warrant. They may also have a search warrant for your computer, if the crime was allegedly committed by an internet transaction.
Do not give a statement to the police or volunteer any information. If an officer or fraud investigator asks you to answer questions, or promises leniency in return for a statement, immediately ask to speak with an attorney.
Have someone arrange for bail as soon as possible.
Credit card theft is a serious crime and can be combined with other offenses that, if proven, can result in considerable prison time.
Credit card fraud is treated as a crime, and a conviction can seriously affect your current work status and your ability to find employment, keep a professional license, obtain a security clearance, or travel internationally.
A criminal defense lawyer can present any number of defenses to combat the allegations against you, including lack of intent or unknowingly using a revoked or expired card. They may also discover grounds for objection based on improper procedures or a violation of your constitutional rights.
An experienced criminal defense lawyer can also offer mitigating circumstances in your case, challenge expert or lay witnesses, question police investigations, and possibly persuade the court or prosecution to reduce your offense to a lesser charge or even have your case dismissed.
If you or someone that you know has been charged with credit card fraud, we want to hear from you.