One of the most common types of fraud crimes in Delaware County, Pennsylvania and the rest of the country is credit card fraud. Credit card fraud is the type of crime that involves using another person’s credit card without their permission or knowledge to make unauthorized purchases or withdrawals from their bank account. If a person is found to be engaging in credit card fraud in the Delaware County area, they can be prosecuted in federal court or in Pennsylvania’s state court.
What is Credit Card Fraud in Delaware County?
A person can be arrested and convicted of credit card fraud if they engage in any type of fraudulent activity while using another person’s credit card and they have full knowledge of the following:
• The credit card has been altered or is counterfeit or incomplete
• The owner of the credit card has not authorized the person to use it
• The credit card has been canceled or revoked
Additionally, in Delaware County or anywhere else in the state of Pennsylvania, if the individual attempts to get another person to use a credit card under any of those scenarios, they can be charged with credit card fraud. The person does not even have to actually use the credit card; simply possessing the card and knowing they have not gotten permission from its owner is still charged as the crime of credit fraud. In other words, if someone is found to have another person’s credit card in their possession and did not receive authorization from the card’s owner, it is considered credit card fraud. The same applies if the credit card is counterfeit and the person is fully aware of that.
Penalties and Sentences for Credit Card Fraud in Delaware County
In general, the exact penalties and sentence a person can receive in Delaware County when they have been convicted of the crime of credit card fraud depends on the value of any goods or services they fraudulently received or amount of money they obtained through the credit card. For example, if the individual only obtained an amount of money under $50, they would be charged with a misdemeanor in the second degree, which carries a penalty of a maximum of two years in prison. If the amount was over $50 but less than $500, the crime is charged as a misdemeanor in the first degree, which carries a penalty of up to five years in prison. However, if the value of the goods or services or the amount of money obtained from the credit card was greater than $500, the individual would be charged with a felony in the third degree, which requires a prison sentence of up to seven years.
It’s also important to know that if a person illegally possesses and uses multiple counterfeit credit cards or cards belonging to other people without their authorization, the individual will be charged separately for each card they fraudulently use. For instance, if a man steals the credit cards of four different people and uses each of them, he would receive four separate charges for committing four individual crimes of credit card fraud.
Possible Defenses to a Charge of Credit Card Fraud
There are certain defenses that a Delaware County credit card fraud lawyer can use in a case. They include the following:
• The defendant fully intended to meet the obligations of the credit card to the issuer
• The defendant lacked knowledge that the credit card was not authorized for them to use or that the card was counterfeit
• The defendant lacked intent to commit credit card fraud
• The credit card actually belonged to the defendant
• The defendant’s age makes it impossible for them to have committed credit card fraud
Credit card fraud is a charge that is very serious whether you are in Delaware County or anywhere else. As a result, you should always get the help of a skilled attorney to defend you in your case.
The advancement of technology has allowed stealing credit card information to become effortless. Using someone else’s credit card without permission is considered fraud, and it’s a severe crime. The deceptive practices used in these schemes can cause excessive damage to the victim’s credit rating. It’s a complete nightmare to get finances back in order after suffering from such an ordeal. Anyone who has experienced credit card fraud needs an experienced attorney on their side. Many rights and actions can be taken to ensure you are protected.
While most people think of credit card fraud as stealing someone else’s card or using the number to make purchases, there are other ways that a person can be a victim. Credit card companies want to make money, even if it means charges excessively and masking things that the consumer needs to know.
Credit Card Companies Help To Defraud Their Customers
Many consumers are surprised to learn that credit card companies have many things that help to defraud their customers. They use deceptive practices that most individuals do not know of. These practices include hidden and late fees, charging for items not purchased, not disclosing APRs, double charging, and not crediting past payments.
What are these hidden fees that they include on the bills? Well, charges for withdrawing money from an ATM, cash advances, transferring a balance to another card, foreign transactions, and giving checks that can be written against the available credit on the card. What’s more shocking is that the American people are spending more than $31 million in excessive fees charged by their credit card companies.
Understanding APR Schemes
Take for instance masking APRs. Many credit cards will offer a low introductory interest rate to get people to open an account. However, the interest rate is only for a certain amount of time, and it will change in six months or a year. They don’t send notices to remind the consumer about the change; they just see that their bill increased. They mask the true cost of owning the card and keep customers in the dark.
The Deceptive Art of Double Charging
Another trick that commonly occurs with credit card companies is double charges. If you go through the drive through to grab dinner, the credit card company may charge you twice. They get by with this because many people don’t check their statements, and they pay the amount due. Going back through records might be surprising as many consumers find they have numerous double charges they knew nothing about.
Unscrupulous Billing Practices
Consumers are notorious for paying their bills at the last minute, and credit card companies use that to their advantage. A payment that should have been credited by the due date is conveniently marked a few days late. By doing this, they can collect extra fees by assessing a late charge. Lastly, many consumers find they are billed for memberships and other charges that they never initiated. Unfortunately, many of these things go unnoticed until people have paid hundreds in excess from their pockets.
State and Federal Laws Provide Protection
There are both state and federal laws that protect all consumers from credit card fraud. The FCBA or Fair Credit Billing Act has regulations that help people who are victims. Under these rules, a person who has a billing error has a right to have it fixed instantly. They help to protect credit scores while disputing charges with a credit card company. Also, they monitor and ensure a company is using proper billing practices.
Those who have been a victim can collect damages for their trouble. They can receive up to twice the amount of any finance charges they have incurred, with a cap of $1,000. If they must pay for attorney fees or court costs, then those will also be covered. If you or someone you know has been the victim of credit card fraud, then you need the experience of a legal representative by your side.