Credit Card Fraud Defense Attorney Los Angeles
Credit card fraud is on the rise, with a 44.7% increase from 2019 to 2020. There were almost 400,000 reports of credit card fraud in 2020. Altogether with other forms of identity theft, in 2020, $712.4 billion was lost to stolen credit cards, internet breaches, and other forms of electronic theft. Credit card fraud can be charged as a federal or California crime, with heavy penalties upon successful prosecution. Credit card fraud can be individual or part of a business scheme. If you are facing investigation or prosecution for credit card fraud, it is vital to seek legal counsel as soon as possible.
Retaining skilled and experienced counsel early in a credit card fraud investigation is necessary to preserve your options and to protect your rights as an individual or business. As soon as you learn that you might be the target of such an investigation, you should contact RP Criminal Defense Law to schedule a consultation to permit our Los Angeles-based credit card fraud defense attorneys to assess the strength of the government’s case and guide you through the investigation and ensuing criminal prosecution. We are conveniently located in Encino and Ontario. RP Criminal Defense Law provides aggressive individualized representation backed by experience and a thorough understanding of all aspects of credit card fraud prosecutions.
Common Types of Credit Card Fraud
Credit card fraud can take many forms, both physical and virtual. Sales of goods over the Internet have contributed to the rise of credit card fraud.
- Use of a stolen credit card to purchase items in a store
- Manufacturing and distributing illegal or counterfeit credit cards
- Buying items online with stolen credit card numbers
- Hacking into a website to steal credit card information
- Sale of items purchased with stolen credit cards
- Trafficking stolen or counterfeit credit cards
- Possessing machines or materials to counterfeit credit cards
According to U.S. Code Title 18 Part 1, chapter 47 sec 1029(1), federal law prosecutes credit card fraud.
A prosecution by California authorities would be under California Penal Code sec 484e-j. These include offenses such as fraudulent transfer of a credit card, forging credit card information and signature, fraudulent use of an access card, fraudulent retail sales, counterfeiting credit cards, and publishing credit card information.
What Is Credit Card Fraud?
The two most common forms of credit card fraud are application fraud and account takeovers. Because federal law limits cardholder liability to $50 upon the theft of a credit card number, some folks see credit card fraud as harming the banking institutions that must absorb the losses. However, those losses are enormous: over $700 billion in 2020!
- Application Fraud: the unauthorized opening of a credit card account using another person’s name and identity. Personal information can be bought and sold to provide the applicant with enough information to complete a fraudulent application.
- Account Takeover: hijacking an existing credit card account with a claim that the existing card is missing along with changes to the billing address. Then the perpetrator uses the newly issued card to make purchases on the victim’s account.
Credit Card Fraud Penalties
Prosecution for credit card fraud is considered a form of grand larceny if the value of the stolen property is more than $950. It is prosecuted as misdemeanor petty theft for lesser amounts. Federal prosecutions occur under specific circumstances: the crime occurred on government property, was against a government entity, or occurred over state lines. The federal authorities often defer to the state if the case involves lesser amounts and is not a large multi-state or international criminal enterprise.
Misdemeanor penalties include fines up to $1,000 and up to a year in county jail. Felony convictions carry severe penalties: fines up to $10,000 and up to three years in jail.
Credit Card Fraud FAQs
What is credit card “skimming”?
Credit card skimming is when someone makes an illegal copy of a credit card or a bank card using a device that reads and duplicates the information from the original card. The possession and sale of these images and numbers are a form of credit card fraud.
What is “phishing”?
Phishing begins with deceptive e-mails being sent to consumers. The messages impersonate a bank or credit card company to trick the intended victim into revealing personal information, such as credit card or bank account numbers and online passwords. The distribution of phishing emails and the sale or use of harvested credit card information is a form of credit card fraud.
Legal Defense for Credit Card Fraud Charges
It’s always best to retain skilled and experienced credit card fraud defense attorneys as soon as you learn that you might be the target of an investigation. All defenses raised are dependent upon the unique facts of your case. Your Los Angeles credit card fraud defense attorney will examine the circumstances of the investigation and any seizures of evidence to determine whether the police followed all of the proper steps in performing their official functions.
Sometimes improper evidence gathering will lead to a dismissal of the charges. However, the most common defenses are:
- There is no intent to commit fraud.
- There is not enough evidence to prove that you committed fraud.
- You are the victim of mistaken identity.
Credit Card Fraud Lawyer Serving Los Angeles & San Bernadino
Facing an investigation or prosecution for credit card fraud can be frightening. You deserve a fair assessment of the strength of the theory of liability to determine how best to proceed. You also deserve representation that will bring skill and expertise to examining the subpoenas and investigatory requests, an independent investigation and financial audit to fully understand the weight of evidence, and the savvy one gets from years of experience representing clients charged with a credit card fraud in the Los Angeles and San Bernadino areas. Our offices are conveniently located in Encino and Ontario. Only seasoned credit card fraud defense attorneys can realistically evaluate the evidence, the credibility of witnesses, and the predilection of the investigators and, eventually, the judge assigned to the trial. Contact us today for your initial consultation.
A $250 fee will be charged and credited to your account if RP Criminal Defense Law is retained.