What is Credit Card Fraud in New Jersey?

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Credit card fraud is an unfortunate reality for many people across the United States. It is a form of identity theft. Credit card fraud entails the theft of information from credit or debit cards with the intent to illegally obtain funds or goods. Someone convicted of credit card theft could face severe penalties including jail time. For legal representation in your credit card fraud case, a Mercer County theft lawyer can offer skilled assistance.

What Are the Different Types of Credit Card Fraud in NJ?

In general, there are three types of credit card fraud recognized by New Jersey state law. They are as follows.

  1. False statements to obtain a credit card
    This entails lying or purposefully making false statements with the intent to procure a credit card. This could come in the form of lying about a credit score, social security number, etc.
  2. Credit card theft
    • This encompasses multiple crimes including:
    • Taking or using someone’s credit card without their permission
    • Receipt of a lost credit card and intending to use or sell the card
    • Selling/buying credit cards
    • Counterfeiting credit cards or altering them
  3. Fraudulent use of credit cards
    • This also encompasses several crimes including:
    • Using a credit card knowing that it was forged, expired, or revoked
    • Pretending to be the cardholder with the intent to defraud the actual owner
    • Fraudulent use of a credit card by a retailer

Many types of credit card fraud occur all over the country and world. Some common ways that people go about committing the above examples of fraud include:

  • Hacking accounts
  • Skimming
  • Burglary or robbery
  • Copying receipts
  • Illegal credit card forum exchanges

What Penalties Will I Face if Convicted?

You can face fourth, third, or second-degree charges if you are arrested for credit card fraud. The penalties that you are given will heavily depend on the specifics of your situation. A court will examine what type of fraud you committed, how you did it, how much monetary loss the victim(s) suffered, your criminal history, and more. In general, the following list of penalties is standard for credit card fraud in New Jersey.

Fourth-degree crime:

  • Jail time of up to 18 months
  • Fines of up to $10,000

Third-degree crime:

  • Prison time of 3 to 5 years
  • Fines of up to $15,000

Second-degree crime:

  • Prison time of 5 to 10 years
  • Severe fines

Your actual penalties will vary depending on the circumstances of your case. The details may cause a court to be more lenient or more harsh in their ruling. Some factors that can contribute to increased penalties or sentences could be if you committed fraud for a gang or criminal network, the theft was committed during a burglary or robbery, or if the fraud was committed against a particularly vulnerable victim such as the elderly or disabled. Repeat offenders will face much harsher charges than first-time offenders.

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