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Credit Card Fraud and Credit Card Crimes
The increasing popularity of online shopping and online banking, coupled with the popularity of credit cards as a method of payment, may make the temptation for credit card fraud much too powerful for many people these days, and credit card crimes are common in Texas, particularly in major cities like Dallas and Fort Worth and the surrounding affluent communities.
Prosecutors build cases for credit card fraud and credit card abuse with lots and lots of documentation, using things like credit card receipts and internet records to build a paper trail connecting the defendant with money or property as evidence of theft. Defending credit card crime charges needs an expertise not only in criminal law but also in how credit card companies work and how online purchases and World Wide Web records can be documented for use as evidence.
Credit card criminal defense lawyers have their own investigatory prowess in credit card crime paper proof (and how to refute it).
Many Creative Ways to Commit Credit Card Fraud
Texas Penal Code Chapter 32 defines Credit Card Fraud and Credit Card/Debit Card Abuse (Section 32.31) as well as other crimes involving credit matters, including Credit Card Transaction Record Laundering (Section 32.35). Federal laws against credit card fraud include 18 USC §§ 1341-1344 (mail, wire, bank fraud statutes). When large numbers of credit card accounts are involved, federal investigations can include several agencies (including the Federal Bureau of Investigation) and undercover operations that can take years before indictments are issued. (For example, “Operation Card Shop in June 2012,” as reported by the New York Times in an article entitled “FBI Says 24 Are Arrested in Credit Card Theft Plan.”)
Credit card fraud can happen in various ways, and whether or not credit card crimes will result in felony charges depend upon the amount of goods and/or services stolen using the card as well as whether state or federal charges are being brought.
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Some of the more common forms of credit card fraud include:
- Credit Card / Debit Card Abuse: Theft of the Card. Abuse of a credit card or debit card essentially means using someone else’s card without their consent. This can be done in person at a store or online at any store web site where there are insufficient security protocols (e.g., no PAN truncation, so the complete card number appears on receipts; or no requests by the seller for authenticating information like a PIN or zip code). Here, the physical card (debit or credit) is in the possession of another person after being “found” or given to them.
- Identity Theft: Creating Fake Credit Accounts. Identity theft often finds credit card fraud a lucrative opportunity: once someone has personal information regarding an individual (name, address, SSN, etc.) then it is relatively easy to use that identity information to apply for and receive credit cards in that person’s name. This form of credit card fraud involves using a fake credit card account to buy things online or in person at stores.
- Skimming the Credit Card Number. Another form of credit card fraud happens when a credit card is “skimmed.” Here, credit card numbers are taken by someone without disturbing the actual plastic card. This can happen during a regular credit transaction – when someone pays for a meal at a restaurant or buys a new computer game at the local shopping mall. Sometimes the numbers are discovered from receipts or other documents that have been discarded, unshredded, in neighborhood trash cans or dumpsters. Other times, the number is lifted online from an unsuspecting person who fills out a survey, etc.. The credit card number is then used to purchase items in transactions where the physical card is not required.
Defenses to Credit Card Fraud
Both state and federal authorities vigorously pursue credit card fraud and prosecute defendants under a variety of consumer protection and fraud laws. Aggressive criminal defense lawyers representing credit card fraud cases will be knowledgeable about how both Texas prosecutors as well as federal Assistant United States Attorneys handle their credit card fraud prosecutions. These can be complicated cases with complex defenses.
Credit card fraud defenses can involve sophisticated fact patterns with special needs, like computer expertise and banking know-how. Experienced credit card fraud defense lawyers will understand and keep up with the latest methods and uses of credit card manipulations in the marketplace as well as the security protocols that are being fielded to fight against credit card misuse. These cases can be time-intensive and voluminous, as the credit card fraud defense lawyer prepares a detailed defense that will successfully result in a worthwhile plea negotiation, a dismissal of the action, or a not-guilty verdict at trial.
Texas Credit Card Fraud Defense Lawyer
As a former prosecutor turned criminal defense lawyer with over 150 jury trials defending clients against charges brought by district attorneys and U.S. federal prosecutors in Dallas County, Tarrant County, and elsewhere in the State of Texas, Board Certified Criminal Lawyer Michael Lowe not only brings his years of experience to each case, he also dedicates 100% of his law practice to the defense of those being accused of a crime under Texas or federal law.
With a streamlined law firm that coordinates its efforts to give each client the personal attention that they need and deserve when fighting against the government and the possibility of jail time, fines, permanent marks on public records, prison incarceration, loss of licensure, loss of jobs, absence from family events and everyday living, Michael Lowe maintains an efficient and excellent criminal trial practice that is ready to help you or your loved ones in your defense against criminal charges from pre-arrest investigation to post-trial appeals.
To discuss your case in a free and completely confidential consultation, please contact Dallas Board Certified Criminal Lawyer Michael Lowe today.