Hundreds of millions of people use credit cards to make purchases, better manage their finances and obtain something in return, such as reward points or cash back, for spending money.

But along with a robust credit card industry comes the opportunity for fraud. This comes in many forms, including but not limited to the following:

  • Physical theft of a credit card: For example, if you take and use someone’s credit card without their permission, it can result in fraud charges (among others).
  • Opening a credit card account in another person’s name: A common example is using stolen identification to open an account.
  • Using a lost credit card: You didn’t hit the jackpot if you find a credit card on the floor at your local grocery store. This doesn’t give you the right to use it for your own personal gains. If you do, it could result in criminal charges.
  • Using a counterfeit credit card: This is more difficult today than it was in the past, but it’s still prevalent. Just the same as producing counterfeit money, doing so with a credit card is illegal.

How to defend yourself against credit card fraud

If you’re charged with credit card fraud, it’s time to get serious. A conviction will affect you in many ways, so you want to do your part in preventing this.

There are many ways to defend yourself against charges of credit card fraud, such as claiming that you thought another person gave you permission to use their account.

What are the penalties for credit card fraud?

The penalties for a conviction depend on the circumstances and severity of the crime. For example, if you steal someone’s credit card but never use it, you could be charged with a misdemeanor.

Conversely, if your charges are more serious, such as identity theft, it could lead to a long stint in prison.

All types of financial fraud are serious. If you’re facing criminal charges, don’t wait to learn more about your legal rights and how to protect them. You may be in trouble with the law, but that doesn’t always lead to a conviction.