Credit card (or debit card) fraud is a form of identity theft that involves an unauthorized taking of another’s credit card information for the purpose of charging purchases to the account or removing funds from it.
Elements of Credit Card Fraud
Debit/credit card fraud is thus committed when a person
1) fraudulently obtains, takes, signs, uses, sells, buys, or forges someone else's credit or debit card or card information;
2) uses his or her own card with the knowledge that it is revoked or expired or that the account lacks enough money to pay for the items charged; and
3) sells goods or services to someone else with knowledge that the credit or debit card being used was illegally obtained or is being used without authorization.
Types of Credit Card Fraud
Credit fraud is a broad term for the use of a credit card (or any comparable type of credit) to buy goods or services with the intention of evading payment. Credit fraud includes:
Identity theft: the unauthorized use of personal identification information to commit credit fraud or other crimes
long-term victimization of identification information
Fraud spree: unauthorized charges on existing accounts
Credit card fraud schemes generally fall into one of two categories of fraud: application fraud and account takeover.
Application fraud refers to the unauthorized opening of credit card accounts in another person's name. This may occur if an offender can obtain enough personal information about the victim to completely fill out the credit card application, or is able to create convincing counterfeit documents.
Account takeovers typically involve the criminal hijacking of an existing credit card account. Here an offender obtains enough personal information about a victim to change the account's billing address. The perpetrator then subsequently reports the card lost or stolen in order to obtain a new card and make fraudulent purchases with it.
There are many ways that credit thieves gather your personal information:
- Using lost or stolen credit cards
- Stealing from your mailbox
- Looking over your shoulder during transactions
- Going through your trash
- Sending unsolicited email
- Making false telephone solicitations
- Looking at personnel records
What Can You Do Next? Get a Free Case Review
If you're facing allegations of debit or credit card fraud, the government is probably working diligently to gather evidence against you. That's why it's important to have a legal defense team in place early to address and challenge any evidence in your case before trial. You can reach out to an attorney near you for a free review of the facts in your case.