Experian recently summarized an Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) study that reported more than 14 million credit card numbers were exposed in data breaches and other acts of fraud in the U.S. In 2016, at least 32% of U.S. consumers were victims of credit card fraud. They also project that online shopping fraud or “e-commerce fraud” involving credit cards or bank accounts will rise 13% annually from 2017 to 2022. These types of offenses are commonly classified among the many “white-collar” crimes.
Illegally Obtaining a Credit Card
One common type of credit card fraud activity is when someone applies to obtain a credit card using someone else's identity without their knowledge. If a card is issued and obtained it may be charged as a fourth-degree offense. It is also a fourth-degree offense to have possession with intent to use or to buy or sell a lost or stolen credit card.
Another type of credit card fraud involves a merchant or other party that accepts credit cards as a means of payment. It is a fourth-degree offense for these individuals to accept a card for payment when they are aware that the buyer is not the cardholder or is otherwise fraudulent.
Making a False Credit Card
With advancements in technology, it is possible to create a false or counterfeit credit card using devices or equipment. This may involve creating a card using another cardholder's account number and information. It is also possible to alter an existing credit, such as an expired card, and intend to use it. These are all charged as third-degree criminal offenses.
Criminal Usage of Scanning Devices and Re-encoders
A scanning device is defined as a “scanner, skimmer, or reader” that is used to “access, read, scan, obtain, memorize, or store” any information that is digitally encoded in the bar or strip of a payment card. This is a crime commonly referred to as “skimming.” The following are a summary of these types of third-degree offenses:
- Unlawfully using a device that is capable of accessing and storing encoded data within a payment card
- Using a re-encoder to unlawfully transfer digitally encoded data from a payment card to another card
- It is a fourth-degree offense for possession of such devices or equipment with the intent to participate in fraudulent activity.
A third-degree offense in New Jersey is punishable by three to five years of imprisonment and a maximum $15,000 fine. Fourth-degree offenses are punishable by incarceration up to a maximum of 18 months and a maximum $10,000 fine.
Criminal Courts in Burlington County
Burlington County has approximately 39 Municipal Courts at the city or township level. The Municipal Courts have limited jurisdiction, handling only disorderly person offenses, motor vehicle and parking violations, and local ordinance offenses. The more serious criminal cases are transferred to the Superior Court.
Burlington County Court Facility
49 Rancocas Road
Mount Holly, NJ 08060
Defense Attorney for Credit Card Offenses
Attorney Joseph D. Lento has a solid understanding of the potentially harsh penalties that may be levied on individuals that are convicted of credit card theft or fraud. He closely reviews all the facts and evidence to create a broad strategy of defense. For a case consultation, contact the Lento Law Firm today at (888) 535-3686.