Credit card fraud refers to a wide variety of actions in which a person uses a credit card, debit card or other payment method illegally. This fraud is a white-collar crime, and the penalties for a conviction can be serious.
Whether there is a fraud charge due to using someone else’s information to apply for a credit card or for using a company-owned card for personal items, the court sees this as theft. Depending on the circumstances, there may be certain defenses strategies that an attorney will use.
How credit card fraud occurs
According to the Federal Trade Commission Consumer Information, one method of credit card fraud is when someone steals an individual’s credit card information and uses it to purchase items. The theft may happen by going through garbage cans, hacking a bank’s site, taking a picture of a credit card or asking for the account number over the phone.
According to the Cornell Law School Legal Information Institute, fraud may occur if someone opens a credit card account by using another person’s personal information. Skimming is also a common method. Another way is that an employee may access the account information of customers and then use this information or sell it to others.
Potential defense strategies
Understanding what constitutes fraud may help someone come up with defense arguments. A defendant may claim to be a victim of identity theft if a false identity stole the card data. Another defense strategy may be to claim coercion or entrapment, and that there was no willful intent to steal.
Depending on the situation, a defendant could argue there was authorization to use the card. This strategy may work if it was an employer’s or family member’s credit card.