With ever-changing technology, the job of criminal defense attorneys has become very complex when it comes to defending clients accused of credit card fraud. The credit card fraud laws of New Jersey are incredibly complex, and if you’ve been accused of a crime related to securing or using a credit card fraudulently, it is wise to seek legal counsel. In today’s blog, we will take a closer look at credit card fraud and review a few common types of this kind of fraud.

If you are a resident of Hackensack or the surrounding area who is facing credit card fraud charges, you may not be sure where to turn for help. At the Law Offices of David I. Goldstein, our team of criminal defense lawyers specializes in providing legal representation for those accused of federal crimes, including credit card fraud. Contact us today to schedule a consultation. We’d love to speak with you.

What is Credit Card Fraud?

To better understand what credit card fraud means, it is essential to know how the New Jersey law views this rather broad term. Generally speaking, credit card fraud can be defined as the unlawful use of a credit card to make financial gains via purchases and/or false loans. Section 2C:21-6 of the New Jersey Revised Statutes governs over acts of credit card fraud and categorizes fraudulent acts into two categories: how the card is obtained and how it is used.

5 Common Types of Credit Card Fraud

When it comes to credit card fraud, there are several different types. Below, we’ve reviewed five of the most common types.

Card Alteration

Under New Jersey law, physically altering a credit card is considered to be a form of credit card fraud. Examples of this may include embossing false numbers on a card or adding a magnetic strip to a card to change its coding. Additionally, increasing the credit limit on a card without authorization of the cardholder is also interpreted as fraud.

Card Theft

Although this type of fraud seems fairly straightforward, the term “theft” may have a variety of meanings. New Jersey statutes recognize six different types of credit card theft:

  • Taking a card without the owner’s consent
  • Signing a credit card without authorization
  • Receiving and accepting a lost, misplaced, or mistakenly delivered card
  • Manufacturing a counterfeit card or modifying an existing card
  • Buying or selling a card from an entity other than the issuer
  • Accepting a credit card as security on a debt

In recent years, organized underground groups referred to as credit card forums have set up shop on the internet in order to sell and exchange stolen credit card information. In the state of New Jersey, if you possess more than two stolen credit cards, the law presumes you are guilty of credit card theft.

Skimming

This type of fraud is committed by using a small device in order to obtain another person’s credit card information. This device may be placed on the swipe mechanism of ATM’s or gas pumps. Workers of the retail and restaurant industry also have ample opportunity to steal credit card information by using handheld skimmers as they complete payment transactions.

Account Takeover

If you have been accused of taking over a credit card account, this means that you are believed to have obtained the account owner’s personal information in order to obtain a new credit card in the legal cardholder’s name by reporting a change in address or that the original card was lost, stolen, or misplaced.

Fraudulent Application

No matter how minimal or innocent it may seem, using false information and statements to obtain a line of credit is illegal. This means that applicants who use a false name or other inauthentic identifying pieces of information can be charged with credit card fraud. Likewise, being dishonest about your financial standings in hopes of obtaining a higher line of credit is also fraudulent.

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Penalties and Consequences

If you have been charged with any type of credit card fraud, it is essential to secure legal representation to ensure the best outcome possible for your case. This is because credit card fraud is a fourth degree crime in New Jersey, and unless otherwise stated, is considered a felony. If you are convicted of a fourth degree crime, you will face up to 18 months in prison and up to $10,000 in fines. Beyond these immediate penalties, the conviction will stay on your record unless you are able to get it expunged. This may give employers the impression that you are dishonest and unreliable, which can make it challenging to obtain and keep a job.

Hackensack Criminal Defense Attorneys

Whether you have been accused of fraudulent application, credit card theft, or one of the other types of credit card fraud, you deserve well-qualified legal representation to ensure your best interests are maintained. Additionally, having a criminal defense attorney who is well-versed in New Jersey’s complex credit card fraud laws is essential to ensuring the best possible outcome for your case. With more than 50 years of combined experience, we have what it takes to properly represent you. Don’t delay, call the Law Offices of David I. Goldstein today to request a consultation.