The Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) revealed their findings from a recent study to Experian. In 2016, approximately 32% of Americans were victims of credit card fraud and more than 14 million credit card numbers were exposed in cyber-related crime or breaches of data. In 2018, most credit cards issued contained embedded security chips that have been effective in preventing fraud. The New Jersey State Police's Financial Crimes Investigation Unit is a leading agency statewide that is attempting to stop these types of crime.
New Jersey Forgery and Related Offenses: Credit Card Theft (2C:21-6)
It is a fourth-degree criminal offense to unlawfully take or otherwise acquire a credit card without the cardholder's consent and intend to use it. This may include cards that were stolen or “lost, mislaid, or delivered under a mistake.” This also applies to possession of two or more credit cards belonging to another cardholder.
Usage is defined as intending to procure “money, goods, services or anything else of value.” Online shopping and other “e-commerce” activities have resulted in more widespread credit card fraud. The act of buying or selling a credit card also constitutes a fourth-degree offense. Merchants or retailers that accept credit cards as a means of payment are prohibited from knowingly processing orders for goods or services using an unlawfully obtained card.
Producing or Altering Credit Cards
Equipment and devices are capable of making or embossing false (counterfeit) credit cards using the account information of an existing cardholder. It is a third-degree crime for knowingly using a “counterfeit, fictitious, altered, or forged” credit card or merely having possession of two or more falsely made credit cards.
Fraudulently Using Scanning Devices and Re-encoders (2C:21.6.1)
Newer devices called “scanners, skimmers or readers” have emerged as a means of illegally capturing and storing critical credit card information by simply swiping the strip of a payment card. The term payment card encompasses any form of credit, debit, or charge card.
The fraud is often referred to as “skimming” these activities are charged as third-degree offenses. It is also a fourth-degree offense to possess this equipment.
Potential Criminal Penalties
Under New Jersey criminal law, a third-degree offense is punishable by three to five years of imprisonment and a maximum $15,000 fine. Fourth-degree offenses are punishable by up to 18 months of incarceration and a maximum $10,000 fine.
Criminal Courts in Gloucester County
Gloucester County has approximately 23 Municipal Courts operated at the city or township level. The Municipal Courts in New Jersey have limited jurisdiction, handling only disorderly person offenses, motor vehicle and parking violations, and local ordinance offenses. The more serious criminal cases at transferred to the Superior Court at the county level.
Gloucester County Courthouse
1 North Broad St.
Woodbury, NJ 08096
Criminal Defense Attorney for Credit Card Fraud
Have you recently been arrested and charged with a theft or fraud-related criminal offense in New Jersey? The Lento Law Firm offers aggressive representation for clients faced with serious allegations that may result in imprisonment and various other penalties. Contact the office today at (888) 535-3686 for a case consultation.