Most North Carolina residents have lines of credit that they use to cover their daily expenses or any emergencies that may arise. Some people permit others to use their credit on occasion, and that is perfectly legal. Using someone else’s credit or debit card or number without their permission — known as credit card fraud — is a crime, however, with serious consequences if one is convicted.
What actions are considered credit card fraud?
As noted, using another person’s card or number without their permission is fraud. Other actions that are also considered credit card fraud include claiming the card as one’s own, knowingly exceeding the balance when using, obtaining a card or account through forgery, taking control of another person’s account, making a false statement when applying for credit and falsely reporting a stolen credit card — among various other things. To be convicted on a credit card fraud charge, prosecuting attorneys must show the accused had the intent to defraud.
A credit card fraud charge may be either a misdemeanor or a felony. It is a misdemeanor if the value stolen was $500 or less. In any sum above that, it is a felony. The class of the charge depends on whether one has a prior record. Consequences include fines, jail time or imprisonment.
Defending oneself against credit card fraud charges may seem an impossible task. However, the burden of proof does lie on the prosecuting attorney’s shoulders. With the assistance of legal counsel, it may be possible to poke holes in their case, which can result in a case dismissal or, at least, a reduction in charges. If fighting the charge doesn’t make sense or fails to work in one’s favor, legal counsel can still help one achieve the best possible outcome.