Credit cards are a staple of the American economy. Nearly all Americans have at least one card in their name, and they are used to make millions of purchases every single day. With the evolution of technology including instant electronic transfers and online retail, these cards have become a popular target for identity theft and fraudulent purchases. Credit card fraud laws now exist at every governmental level, and fraud cases may be handled by local police to the Secret Service. So how do these laws work, and what should someone do if they are charged with a credit card crime?
What are the Types Credit of Card Fraud?
There are a number of different laws and statutes that address credit card crimes, but they can generally be divided into two main categories: either the card is present during the criminal act, or the card is not present during the criminal act. The former category includes basic theft of the card, but also includes applying for cards in someone else’s name or pretending to be the cardholder to get a new card sent to the fraudster’s location. In these crimes, a physical card ends up in someone else’s hands.
The latter category has grown significantly over the past few decades, as the internet has allowed for more complicated and remote schemes. Phone call scams trick cardholders to give up their card information and allow those with that information to make purchases without even needing to see the card. Hackers can also use phishing, malware, and viruses to gain access to someone’s computer or steal their information from any number of websites.
Who Prosecutes Credit Card Crimes?
What law enforcement agency prosecutes these crimes often depends on the type of fraud committed and the amount of money the fraud took from the victim. Most card fraud crimes are addressed at the state level, with the possible punishment ranging from fines to serious prison time depending on the overall value of the fraud. Widespread and national schemes and scams, on the other hand, are usually handled by federal investigators. This is because fraudulent crimes involving interstate or foreign commerce fall under the jurisdiction of the federal government. Convictions for these fraud crimes often mean a sentence in federal prison.
What Should I Do if I’m Charged with Credit Card Fraud?
If you are arrested for a credit card crime, you should get in touch with an attorney as soon as possible. The complexity and seriousness of these crimes means that a criminal defense attorney specializing in fraud or white collar crimes is imperative. Remember, you have the right to an attorney to help defend you against criminal charges, so do not sign anything or make any statements before seeking the advice of counsel. They can inform you of your rights and represent you in negotiations for plea bargains or in any criminal proceeding.
Related blog: White Collar Crimes Explained
Contact An Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer About Your White Collar Charges In NJ Today
Were you arrested or charged with a crime in NJ? The consequences of a conviction could be severe, leaving you with a permanent criminal record and possibly even sending you to jail. That is why you need to speak with a qualified criminal defense attorney as soon as possible about your case. The attorneys at Zegas Law have successfully represented clients in criminal matters throughout New Jersey. Call us at (973) 379-1999 or fill out the online contact form to schedule a consultation with a member of our legal team. We have an office conveniently located at 60 Morris Turnpike, Summit, NJ 07901.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.