Cambridge Fraud Defense Lawyer
If you have been accused of committing credit card fraud, you are likely looking for some answers, reassurance, and high quality legal representation. Our criminal defense lawyers are available to meet with you, answer your questions, and explain your rights and the criminal process to you, as well as how we believe we can best help you.
If you need a criminal defense attorney, call us at 617-492-0055 to schedule a free in-office consultation. We will treat you professionally, advise you honestly, and defend you aggressively.
Credit Card Fraud
Credit card fraud is, essentially, a form identity theft. An accusation of credit card fraud can be embarrassing. Sometimes, clients find themselves unfairly charged with credit card fraud. For example, a friend or relative lends a credit card to the client to make a purchase, then accusses the client of stealing his card. Whether the charges are fair or unfounded, you will need retain a criminal defense attorney, appear in court, and fight the charges.
In Massachusetts, pursuant to G.L., c. 266 §37B, credit card fraud is punishable by imprisonment in the House of Correction for up to 2 1/2 years, a fine of $5,000.00, or both.
Reducing Credit Card Fraud
Credit card fraud is one of the most common forms of identity theft. If your card is lost or stolen, report the theft to your credit card company immediately. Once you inform your credit card company of a lost or stolen card, you are no longer liable for future purchases made with your card. Unfortunately, with the vast amount of credit cards available today, it is easy to accumulate several cards, making it difficult to notice a missing card. When a thief steals a credit card he usually understands that he has limited time to use the card and will most likely make purchases immediately.
Fortunately for cardholders, the federal government has limited the amount an individual is liable for in the case of credit card fraud to $50.00. Most credit card companies will waive the charges to keep you as a customer. The cardholder has 60 days upon receipt of his statement to report the theft. In the case where the physical card has not been stolen but unauthorized purchases were made with the card, government regulations prohibit the credit card company from holding the customer liable for any purchases or losses.
Protecting Yourself from Fraud
How can a thief obtain your credit card information without ever possessing the card? Online vendors, such as Amazon, as well as skimming machines (commonly used at parking garages and gas stations), store your card information indefinitely. Hackers successfully breaching a vendor’s site’s security wall may steal millions of credit card numbers, as well as personal information. Thieves surreptitiously (and illegally) attach tiny cameras to ATM machines record you as you enter your PIN. Once the thieves retrieve the cameras, they insert a skimmer to steal the card data.
Since the credit card companies incur staggering losses covering fraudulent charges, they are continuously upgrading their fraud detection methodologies. Using advanced algorithms, credit card companies can identify credit card use consistent with fraud. Moreover, credit card companies monitor your transactions and purchasing habits, to create a user profile. The credit card companies flag any transactions that appear out of the ordinary and quickly contact the card user to verify the purchase.
To ensure you are safe from credit card fraud, there are precautionary steps you can take. Monitoring statements periodically, only visiting secure, legitimate websites when shopping online, and running anti-virus software on your computer are all good preventative measures to fraud. As thieves become smarter, so do credit card companies. With all the online shopping and banking that occurs today, hackers are capable of obtaining your card information. For an individual, $50.00 is the maximum amount one can be held accountable for if a card is used to make unauthorized purchases, if the theft or illegal activity is reported.