Credit Card Fraud
Defense Lawyer in Fort Myers
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Credit card fraud cases have skyrocketed with the expansion of technology. No longer does a cardholder have to be present in a store and show ID to a clerk to make purchases. Elaborate crime rings illegally obtain card users’ personal information with the intent to gain unauthorized access to someone else’s line of credit. Credit card fraud is a general term that refers to an offense in which the perpetrator utilizes any payment card through deceptive means. State and federal laws prohibit the fraudulent use of payment cards. Therefore, anyone who is accused of credit card fraud in Fort Myers may face charges in a Florida court and in federal court. If that happens, you’ll need the services of an expert credit card fraud defense attorney.
Accused of credit card fraud in Fort Myers?
In some instances, an individual who had nothing to do with a fraudulent scheme may be investigated for credit card fraud or even formally accused. A fraudster may allow a friend, significant other, or family member to use a credit card that turns out to be stolen. A fraud ring may be traced back to a small business owner or merchant who is falsely accused of conspiring with members of the crime ring. Because card fraud often involves identity theft, law enforcement may simply mistake someone who was a victim of the scheme for one of the parties who played a role in the criminal activity. For individuals who are under investigation for credit card fraud, it is never too early to contact a Fort Myers credit card fraud defense lawyer.
How credit card fraud happens
There are several ways credit card fraud takes place nowadays. Card-Not-Present (CNP) fraud occurs when the fraudster does not physically handle the credit card while making an unauthorized purchase. CNP is the more common type of fraud now that consumers have the ability to conduct most financial transactions online. Card-Present fraud happens less frequently because the risks associated with physically using a stolen card in a store or at an ATM are too high and are often unnecessary.
Originally, credit card fraudsters physically stole credit cards from others, or they obtained private information like ATM card PIN numbers by looking over the card user’s shoulder when he or she entered the data. Telemarketing schemes often involved calling elderly people and convincing them to provide their credit card details over the phone. Today, fraudsters outfit card readers with their own devices. Tech-savvy fraudsters spoof bank websites. Hackers send emails attempting to persuade potential victims to click on links that grant unauthorized access to the recipient’s electronic device. These are just a few ways criminals gain access to credit card information they use to make illegal transactions.
Do not say anything that might incriminate you. Speak with an attorney first.
Credit card application fraud
Information obtained through identity theft is often used to open credit cards in the victim’s name. After opening a new account, fraudsters most often withdraw large sums from the card account in cash advances. Oftentimes, the identity theft victim does not become aware of the account until the criminals have withdrawn the cash and moved on to the next illegally obtained account.
In some instances, credit card thieves intercept new cards when they arrive in the mail. “Card Never Arrived” fraud is a form of physical credit card theft. Upon intercepting the card, the thieves activate the account and create their own PIN that will allow access to cash advances.
Card account takeover
If a criminal gains enough of a cardholder’s personal information, he or she can change the billing address on a card and take over the victim’s account. After obtaining the information, the fraudster reports the card lost or stolen and requests a new card to be sent to his or her address. Account takeovers can happen following mail theft or the theft of a purse or wallet that contains the victim’s driver’s license.
Credit card theft
Old-fashioned theft is still a means credit card fraudsters employ to gain unauthorized access to victims’ accounts. Fewer businesses request ID or check the signature on the back of a credit card against a driver’s license prior to processing a card transaction. Therefore, it is easier nowadays for thieves to walk into a store and swipe a card that does not belong to them. The rightful cardholder may not receive a security alert until after the thief has made multiple transactions at unusual locations or in amounts that do not match the credit cardholder’s spending pattern. Credit card theft can occur among strangers, or a thief may willfully obtain and use a card that belongs to an acquaintance without authorization.
Prior to the digitization of credit card transactions, store employees skimmed credit card information by using the carbon copy impressions created by old credit card machines. Today, fraud rings work with employees by outfitting modern card readers with skimming devices, or the employees manually obtain a customer’s data when he or she uses a credit card. In some cases, a fraudulent business or the employees at a legitimate business may use customers’ credit card information to engage in fraudulent activities without the help of a criminal organization.
Credit card fraud laws in Fort Myers
Sentencing in Florida credit card fraud cases depends on one of two factors:
- The value of goods the individual obtained within a six-month period
- The number of times the individual fraudulently used the victim’s credit card within a span of six months
Fraudulently using a credit card fewer than two times and for items valued at less than $100 altogether is a misdemeanor offense in Florida. If convicted, the defendant may be sentenced to a maximum of one year in prison, one year on probation, and a fine of up to $1,000. Fraudulent Use of a Credit Card is a felony in Florida if the individual fraudulently used the victim’s card more than two times within six months or if the individual charged more than $100 on the victim’s card. If convicted, the defendant may be sentenced to up to five years in prison, five years on probation, and a maximum fine of $5,000.
Contact a credit card fraud defense lawyer immediately
Anyone who is accused of credit card fraud should immediately seek legal counsel. Contact our Fort Myers federal criminal defense attorneys to learn how we can defend you against state and federal charges. Call us today to receive a free case evaluation.