One of the most common forms of criminal activity in the U.S. is credit card fraud. Data from the FTC's 2019 Sentinel Data Network Report revealed that New Jersey ranked 15th among the states for most acts of identity theft. Credit card fraud is the single largest form of identity theft, followed by fraud involving loans, leases, phones, and utilities. The Financial Crimes Investigation Unit is a divisional unit of the New Jersey State Police that is aggressively investigating these crimes.
Credit Card Theft Overview and Penalties in New Jersey
The New Jersey statute (2C:21-6) contains the laws related to credit card theft, which are categorized under Forgery and Related Offenses. There are many ways that a credit card may be used unlawfully and the penalties are either a third or fourth-degree criminal offense. A third-degree offense is punishable by imprisonment for between three to five years and a maximum $15,000 fine. Fourth-degree offenses are punishable by up to 18 months of incarceration and $10,000 maximum fine.
Primary Types of Credit Card Theft Offenses
- Applying for a new credit card account using someone else's identity. This is a form of identity theft that typically would result from the victim's personal information being obtained (i.e. social security number, date of birth, etc.)
- Obtaining a lost, stolen, or misplaced credit card and intending to use it unlawfully
- Unlawfully buying, selling, giving, or receiving a credit card
- Creating a new counterfeit credit card using some devices or equipment or altering an existing card. This may involve embossing the information of an existing cardholder.
- “Skimming” someone's credit card information using a scanning or re-encoding device. Many of these devices are capable of capturing and storing embedded account and cardholder information by scanning the card's bar or strip.
- Having possession of devices or equipment that are used for “skimming” and other unlawful purposes
- A merchant or other party that knowingly accepts a stolen, forged, altered, or otherwise unlawfully obtained card for payment
Consequences of Having a Criminal Record for Theft or Fraud
Those who are convicted of credit card theft or other similar offense may experience challenges that extend beyond any period of incarceration. Background checks are commonly conducted as a means of screening by employers, agencies that issue professional licenses, or property owners and managers that are leasing a housing unit.
Criminal Courts in Camden County
Camden County has approximately 35 Municipal Courts operated at the city or township level. Municipal Courts in New Jersey have limited jurisdiction, handling only disorderly person offenses, motor vehicle and parking violations, and local ordinance offenses. More serious criminal cases are transferred to the Superior Court.
Camden County Hall of Justice
101 S. 5th St.
Camden, NJ 08103
Credit Card Fraud Defense Attorney in New Jersey
Joseph D. Lento is a defense lawyer with extensive knowledge of how to effectively represent those facing allegations of theft or fraud-related offenses. Those who are convicted may face incarceration, significant fines, and other adverse consequences. He works diligently to create a comprehensive strategy of defense that seeks to achieve positive outcomes. For a case evaluation, contact the office at (888) 535-3686.