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How does credit card fraud work?

On Behalf of | May 25, 2024 | White Collar Crime

Credit card fraud is a general term for unauthorized payment card transactions, including credit or debit card transactions, for personal gain. It is one of the most common forms of identity theft, with millions of credit card numbers stolen annually in the US.

How is the data stolen?

Before the digital age, people physically stole credit cards from their owners. Now, with technological advancements, they use more innovative methods to obtain credit card data online, over the phone and through text. Here are some common ways information is stolen:

  • Phishing: In this popular type of cyber-attack, individuals send links through emails or text. They pose as credible individuals or organizations to collect personal data through fake websites.
  • Skimming: Credit card information is taken from receipts or a small electronic device called the skimmer. They attach skimmers to ATM card slots or payment terminals and use them to record card data.
  • Information sharing: Hackers can sometimes breach security systems and applications designed to safely store data transferred between individuals, companies, and organizations.

Aside from using another person’s financial identity, using an expired card to obtain anything of value is also a form of credit card fraud.

What are the penalties for credit card criminal fraud?

In California, any unauthorized use of a credit card or credit card information is illegal. Penalties vary depending on the severity of the case. It can go for as low as a $1000 fine and a year in jail or as high as $10000 and punishable by up to three years in jail.

Federal charges are also possible if the alleged crime happened across state lines or within government property.

If you or a loved one are facing credit card fraud criminal charges, you don’t have to face it alone. Seeking counsel with a legal professional may help you learn about your rights and protect your future.