Credit Card Theft and Fraud: What You Need to Know

Stealing a debit or credit card number and fraudulently using it for your own purchases is a crime, and in Kentucky, it’s a felony punishable by hefty fines and prison time. If you’ve been accused of this type of identity theft, you need an experienced credit card fraud lawyer in Lexington, KY.

Laws regarding credit card theft and fraud

Although you probably already know what credit and debit cards are, the legal definitions are as follows. A credit card is “any instrument” issued by a bank or financial institution that allows the holder to receive goods, money and services on credit, whereas a debit card is any instrument issued by a bank that allows the cardholder to receive goods, money and services based on the funds that were deposited into that account.

There are three different types of credit and debit card fraud under Kentucky law: cardholder, merchant crimes and third-party crimes. Cardholder fraud includes fraudulently receiving a credit card from an issuer based on false information about identity or a financial situation, or falsely reporting a card as lost or stolen, claiming certain charges were fraudulently made when they were not.

Merchant crimes occur when a merchant or service provider falsely claims that they provided goods, services or anything else of value—and charge the card accordingly—when no goods or services were actually provided.

Finally, third-party crimes include stealing or fraudulently receiving cards, buying or selling cards, phishing (getting someone to reveal their credit card information for the purposes of using it yourself or selling the information), making false credit cards and even unauthorized signatures.

Federal law also prohibits credit card theft and fraud, which typically carry harsher punishments. 18 U.S. Code § 1029 defines federal credit card fraud laws similarly to Kentucky, and also includes possessing or controlling the equipment to create fraudulent cards, possessing 15 or more fraudulent cards, racking up $1,000 in fraudulent charges in 12 months or less and enlisting someone else to help create, sell or obtain fraudulent cards.

Punishments for credit card fraud

As you can imagine, these are all very serious crimes that carry hefty fines and long punishments. Kentucky state law declares that a person found guilty can be fined and imprisoned for one to 50 years; under federal law, you may be imprisoned for 15 to 20 years, fined or both. Subsequent offenses include additional, more stringent penalties.

Credit card fraud lawyer in Lexington, KY

Have you been accused of credit card fraud in Kentucky? Don’t waste any time: you need the services of an experienced and aggressive criminal defense lawyer. The attorneys at Oakley & Oakley, LLC have been providing legal representation to defendants since 2006. Our firm is able to handle misdemeanor and felony cases in both state and federal court. We’ll zealously represent you to the best of our abilities and fight for justice in your case. Call us today to arrange a consultation. We look forward to discussing your situation and assisting in the resolution of your case.

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