The sentences for credit card fraud are steep and are getting steeper. Credit card fraud is becoming more and more prevalent as people are becoming more and more sophisticated about the ways they use to steal from others. The FTC or Federal Trade Commission, one of the reporting bodies for credit card fraud, received over 300,000 identity theft complaints during 2008. Of those, credit card fraud was the most common type of identity theft experienced. It is affecting an alarming number of people. In fact, most people know of at least one person who has been the victim of some type of credit card fraud (Source: FTC.gov).
Credit card fraud comes in a variety of formats. It can be someone stealing your actual credit card and using it. They may steal the card before you ever receive it or they may steal one that you use regularly. It can be someone taking out a completely new credit card in your name and making purchases with it, in which case it can be quite a while before you even realize you have been the victim of credit card fraud. It can also be as simple as someone you know, possibly even a family member, using your card without your consent.
The different types of credit card fraud that exist can lead to different sentences based on the type of fraud committed. Unauthorized use fraud is much less serious than when someone has committed actual identity theft or computer fraud. In fact, such things are investigated differently than simple unauthorized use fraud. Identity theft is investigated by the Secret Service and computer fraud is investigated by the Financial Crimes Division of the federal government. Both these types of crimes fall under federal jurisdiction. Local law enforcement officers are the ones who will investigate unauthorized use fraud and other less serious credit card fraud issues.
Another thing that determines the severity of the fraud is the amount of money involved in the credit card fraud. If the amount that was stolen is less than $2,000 it won’t even be investigated on a Federal level. The larger the amount of money defrauded from a victim the more seriously the investigation is taken and consequently sentencing will likely be stiffer. Criminals know such things and often keep transactions low in order to stay below the radar (Source: HG.org).
The severity of the type of fraud committed and whether or not this is a first, second or repeat offense will help to determine how the person who has committed the credit card fraud will be sentenced. These sentences will also vary somewhat from state to state. In the state of New York sentences run from misdemeanor charges requiring no jail time to very minimal amounts of jail time like 15 to 90 days. More serious credit card fraud sentences, especially for repeat offenders, are considered felonies and can go as high as 20+ years in prison. New York sentencing practices are typical of most other states.
Good lawyers can also be very effective in reducing sentencing for anyone convicted of credit card fraud, especially if the person is a first time offender, very young or has some type of extenuating circumstances. They can get a sentence reduced so that the offender never serves jail time, but instead does community service, probation, pays a fine, makes retribution or submits to a substance abuse program or other type of therapy as needed. Regarding the sentence for credit card fraud, much depends on the judge, the lawyer, the accused’s background and the value of the fraudulent activity. If you have been charged with credit card fraud, the best advice is to invest in a good lawyer.
If you are the victim of credit card fraud, one of the best ways to start afresh after your card has been fraudulently used is to cancel the original card, take steps to clean up your credit record and get a new credit card. To look for a card that meets your every need, including your need for security, use our unique and free credit card “Chaser”. You tell the chaser tool what you are looking for in a credit card and it will find the absolute best one for your needs.
Be sure to stay on top of the recommended security measures to prevent future incidents of credit card fraud. Continue to regularly review your credit report to make sure you have successfully gotten rid of all charges related to the original fraud and to catch any new fraudulent activity as soon as it happens. Even though sentencing for credit card fraud can be harsh, it is still not sufficient to completely deter credit card fraud criminals from practicing their chosen specialty.
Now that you know what the typical sentence for credit card fraud is and some of the applicable credit card fraud statistics why not start comparing credit cards today to find the card with the best credit card fraud protection features!