Credit and debit cards have become increasingly common and are now the rule more than the exception when paying for goods or services. So, it is no surprise that credit card and debit card fraud are among the most common examples of white-collar crime. It generally involves using a card intending to defraud another party, such as a business or vendor, the credit card holder, or the credit card company or bank. Still, the charges for illegal card usage may be overblown, a misunderstanding or a mistake.
Here are some common reasons for charges:
- Unauthorized use: The state considers it a felony (if the charge is over $2,000) or a misdemeanor.
- Illegal possession: The state considers it a crime to have a stolen or illegal card in your possession. A class 1 misdemeanor at minimum, the charges escalate to increasingly severe felonies with each additional card found in the defendant’s possession.
- Identity theft: A common element of the charges is claiming to be someone else. It could involve receiving a card that isn’t yours or using someone else’s information to get a card. Charges can be filed for just applying for the card using a fraudulent premise.
Who has the burden of proof?
Card owners have the right to compensation if someone illegally uses their card after the holder notifies the card issuer. Moreover, thanks to the Fair Billing Act, the burden of proof lies with credit card companies and banks. Still, the holder can be responsible if they intentionally compromise the card’s security. It’s almost unavoidable, whoever it is, that they will want to prosecute.
Fighting the charges
Those accused of credit or debit card fraud face serious charges. It is best to discuss the details of the charges with a criminal law attorney who understands the state’s laws on this matter. The lawyer can then fight to reduce or dismiss the charges if circumstances warrant it.