Nowadays, one of the most convenient methods of payment is using a credit card. It is an accessible financial product with a monetary value stored on a card that we can use for our purchases such as groceries, appliances, travel packages, goods, and services. The use of credit cards allows us to build a good credit score and helps us increase our purchasing power. It also comes with an opportunity to earn rewards like cash back or miles points.

A credit card is issued to a specific “cardholder”. A cardholder is either the person whose name is on the credit card issued or the person who possesses the credit card with the permission of the real owner.

Credit cards are programmed to be highly secured using the latest technology and safety measures. However, some people take advantage of this payment method. The unauthorized use of another person’s credit card information to charge purchases or steal funds intentionally is called credit card fraud. Credit card fraud may also happen if a person gives his or her credit card information to unfamiliar individuals or if the credit card was lost or stolen. It involves several offenses related to unlawful credit card use and deception by an offender for personal monetary gain.

Pursuant to Arizona state law, it is forbidden for an individual to steal and illegally possess credit cards. If you violate the relevant criminal law and decide to purchase items unlawfully using a stolen credit card, you may be prosecuted, and your maximum punishment will be based on the value of the goods that you have obtained.

Credit Card FraudEach state has credit card fraud laws that you need to follow. Under the relevant statute, Credit card fraud does not involve the usage of stolen credit cards alone. Possession of another person’s credit card knowingly without the cardholder’s permission is also considered a punishable criminal offense. Keeping a person’s credit card as collateral for debt is also strictly prohibited. Consumer and criminal laws in Arizona may sometimes be confusing and complicated, but a reliable Phoenix criminal defense lawyer can provide you with legal help regarding these laws.

Credit card theft involves possessing, forging, stealing, tampering, controlling, and using a credit card without the consent of the cardholder and with the intent to deceive the cardholder. Fraudulent use of a credit card with a purchase of over $250 is considered a class 5 felony. First-degree offenders of Arizona credit card fraud who are convicted of the criminal charges can be sentenced with jail time, life imprisonment, probation, fines, and penalties depending on the severity of the crime and the stolen value from the credit card.

A person who experiences credit card fraud will usually file an incident report to a police officer (or local law enforcement agency) and present debt collection letters, credit card bills, and other supporting documents of the violation and offense committed. The credit card provider or credit card company is also notified immediately, for that person to no longer be liable for the charges that he or she did not approve or authorize (maximum liability under federal law is $50 for each card). The three major credit card bureaus are also notified.

While there are indeed some instances when people become victims of systematized credit card fraud, there are also instances when people are falsely accused.

In some cases, a person might be mistakenly charged with credit card fraud. Individuals whose identity was stolen and used to commit felonies and misdemeanors are considered victims of identity theft. Defendants who are victims of this crime may file a civil suit against the person who fraudulently used their personal information to commit credit card fraud. If you won the case and plead not guilty, the criminal court will grant you victim restitution that covers identity theft costs, as well as the costs of clearing your credit history and court fees. A credible Phoenix criminal defense attorney can help you devise the best possible defenses that you can use to protect yourself from being falsely accused.

Credit or debit card crimes in Arizona can bring serious punishments and consequences. If you are accused and want to avoid being convicted of committing credit card fraud, whether misdemeanor or felony, you must be knowledgeable about the statutes and the variety of defense strategies that you can use to protect yourself. The penalties for credit card fraud convictions are severe; however, it is possible to have your penalties reduced under the right circumstances. Our experienced Phoenix criminal defense attorneys at Snader Law Group will fight for you and help you win against your credit card fraud case. Talk to our competent Phoenix criminal lawyers who will help you develop the best legal defense strategy.