Credit card abuse – or debit card abuse – is a fairly common crime in Texas. At its most basic, it refers to using a credit card inappropriately or illegally. The severity of the charges associated determines the severity of the penalties you will face, but they can be quite onerous. In some instances, credit card abuse can even result in federal charges.
Credit Card Abuse
Credit card abuse – also known as credit card fraud – amounts to using a credit card without authorization in an attempt to obtain some kind of benefit. Credit card abuse can take a variety of different forms, including:
- Making purchases with a credit card that belongs to someone else
- Being in possession of a credit card that belongs to someone else and having the intention of using it
- Using another person’s credit card number or account number
- Selling a credit card that has been stolen
- Receiving purchases that were paid for with a credit card that was illegally obtained
- Stealing a credit card outright
The fact is that you do not have to use a stolen credit card to be charged with credit card fraud. For example, if the prosecution can prove that you stole a credit card that you intended to use, a conviction is a possibility. Further, you do not have to be in possession of another person's card to face fraud charges. Simply using someone else's credit card numbers – without their authorization – for an online purchase is enough to warrant criminal charges. (Read more: What to Do if You Are Facing Criminal Charges)
Investigating Credit Card Abuse
Law enforcement has many techniques for investigating credit card abuse, and they range from the very simple to the very technologically savvy. While many charges are brought about when the owner of the stolen card reports it to the authorities, there are other means of investigation, including:
- Stores reporting what they consider to be suspicious activity.
- Tracing unauthorized online purchases back to the source.
- High-tech sting operations conducted by law enforcement.
In the State of Texas, the legal consequences of credit card fraud are quite serious. In fact, such abuse is always prosecuted as a felony and can lead to prison time and hefty fines. The basic penalties include:
- From 180 days to 2 years in jail
- A fine of up to $10,000
If the victim of the crime is an elderly person, however, the charges can be elevated to a third-degree felony, which comes with harsher consequences.
Call Us Today to Schedule a Free Case Evaluation with a Lawyer
A charge of credit card fraud is a serious charge that you should take extremely seriously. Attorney Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard in Killeen, Texas, is experienced at skillfully navigating cases like yours toward their best possible resolutions. Our dedicated legal team is on your side, so please do not hesitate to contact us or call us at (254) 220-4225 for more information today.