Credit Card Fraud – What is it?

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Credit Card numbersCredit and debit card fraud in California includes a range of offenses. In its essence, credit card fraud involves using someone else’s credit or debit card, or their credit or debit card number, to make purchases. Credit card fraud can also mean using financial information about the cardholder to commit forgery or to open accounts in that person’s name without the ability or intention to repay these debts.

Credit Card Fraud Arrest and Bail

Debit and credit card fraud are serious crimes in California. The intention to commit credit card fraud must be proven at trial but only probable cause is required to arrest the accused. The alleged criminal should contact a good bail bond firm to arrange bail.

Punishments and penalties to these crimes, referenced in California Penal Code 484e, 484f, 484g, 484h, 484i, and 484j PC, depend upon the amount of money involved as well as criminal intention to commit credit card fraud.

Credit Card Fraud in California

Card fraud in California ranges from stealing the credit cardholder’s card or accessing the number, expiry, security code, and so on. A thief may use this information to make online or telephone purchases. Skimming devices at the gas pump, ATM kiosks, and ‘double-swiping’ the card at point of purchase may result in improper use of credit and debit cards.

Why Credit Card Fraud May Lead to Identity Theft in California

Credit card fraud in California may also include identity theft. A card thief may also assess the cardholder’s personal financial information, including his or her Social Security number, and then open new accounts in the original cardholder’s name.

A thief may contact the credit card issuer pretending to be the cardholder and authorize a change of address. A duplicate card may be sent to the thief and additional charges may accrue.

It is important for the original cardholder to monitor his or her accounts. Many credit card issuers limit the user’s liability if credit card fraud occurs. Debit cardholders may be liable for losses as outlined by the issuer’s terms and conditions.

Credit Card Fraud Penalties in California

The person charged with credit card fraud faces penalties relating to circumstances of the offense. Typically, card fraud in California is classified as:

–Forgery, a felony, of sixteen months in prison, or up to three years in the county jail, with a maximum fine of $10,000. If convicted as a misdemeanor, the sentence is up to one year in the county jail and a fine of up to $1,000.

–Grand theft, also a felony, is punished under the same terms as forgery.

–Petty theft, a misdemeanor, is punishable by up to six months of county jail and a fine of up to $1,000.

Statute of Limitations

California’s statute of limitations for credit card fraud is seven years. In some cases, this time limit is tolled or even suspended. If, for example, the charged resides out of state or is in prison, he or she may be charged with fraud for a longer period.

Federal and State Credit Card Charges

Credit card thieves may work with others to steal and use credit card information. In serious credit card fraud crimes, individuals are charged under federal and/or state laws. In 2014, a group of ten defendants were charged by a federal grand jury concerning $1.7 million in fraud transactions.