A report from the Insurance Information Institute revealed that crimes involving fraud in the U.S. created approximately $14.7 billion in losses during 2018. The total losses reported in 2017 were $16.8 billion. The improvement was largely the result of improved security measures for preventing credit card fraud, as the majority of cardholders were issued new cards containing embedded security chips.
2018 Types of Identity Thefts Reported in the U.S.
- Credit Card: New Accounts: 130,928
- Miscellaneous Identity Theft: 87,765
- Tax-Related Fraud: 38,967
- Mobile Phone-Related: 33,466
- Credit Card: Existing Accounts: 32,329
The Credit Card Theft Statute in New Jersey (2C:21-6)
Credit card fraud is an offense found in Chapter 21, which contains all Forgery and Related Offenses. A credit card is any card or device linked to an account that may be used to purchase goods or services or to obtain money. The e-commerce environment that exists today is conducive to fraudulent credit card usage without physically entering a retail or merchant location. There are various ways that these offenses are committed.
Illegally Obtaining a New Credit Card
A new credit card account could potentially be opened using someone's personal identifying information such as their Social Security number and date of birth. If the perpetrator obtained a newly issued card, they could make purchases and the victim would be unaware of the fraud.
Acquiring an Existing Card Unlawfully
Credit cards that are lost, stolen or mislaid may be unlawfully used for purchases without permission of the cardholder. It is unlawful to buy, sell, or otherwise transfer possession of a credit card. If an individual is found to unlawfully possess two or more credit cards, they may be charged with theft regardless of whether they attempt to use the cards.
Manufacturing or Altering Credit Cards
Counterfeit or false credit cards are capable of being produced using certain equipment. This offense is likely committed by using someone's existing card information and embossing this data on to a new card.
Unlawfully “Skimming” Credit Card Information
Digitally encoded credit card information can be captured and stored after swiping the bar or strip of a card. This is known as “skimming.” Having possession of this type of equipment alone constitutes a fourth-degree criminal offense.
New Jersey's Criminal Penalties
In New Jersey, 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 incarceration up to a maximum of 18 months and a maximum $10,000 fine.
Criminal Courts in Monmouth County
Monmouth County has approximately 53 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 are transferred to the Superior Court at the county level.
Monmouth County Courthouse
71 Monument Park
Freehold, NJ 07728-1266
Defense Representation for Allegations of Credit Card Fraud
Prosecutors across New Jersey are increasingly imposing stricter penalties including periods of incarceration and enormous fines in cases of theft or fraud. Attorney Joseph D. Lento has the skills and experience to develop an effective defense strategy based on the evidence and circumstances involved. You are encouraged to contact the office for a case consultation at (888) 535-3686.