Identity theft comes in many forms. One of the most common these days is through credit card fraud. This is a matter that the state of North Carolina, as well as the federal government, takes seriously, as it can cost victims a lot — not only financially, but emotionally. Anyone accused of committing credit card fraud could also lose a lot, as the consequences associated with a conviction can be quite severe. What is needed to convict in these cases?

Credit card fraud, which also applies to debit cards, is defined as taking and using another person’s card information without his or her permission. The actual card does not need to be taken, just the numbers. This information is often obtained online, via email, over the phone or through the use of unprotected card readers.

With any criminal case, certain elements must exist for prosecuting attorneys to achieve a conviction. In credit card fraud cases, one of three specific elements must exist. These elements are:

  • Proof that the accused fraudulently obtained the card information or took it without the owner’s permission, with the intent to use or sell it for personal gain.
  • Proof that the accused used the card information knowing it was expired, revoked or the account was lacking in funds.
  • Proof that the accused knew goods or services were being sold to someone using debit or credit card information without authorization from the owner.

The consequences tied to a conviction in credit card fraud cases include significant fines and time behind bars, among others. The severity of the penalties increase if any federal laws were broken. In other words, there is a lot on the line in these cases. Those in North Carolina who find themselves accused of committing credit card fraud can help themselves by seeking assistance from legal counsel as soon as possible. An experienced criminal defense attorney will have the ability to review the facts of the case, question evidence and devise a defense strategy that will help one pursue the best outcome possible.