Credit card thefts and frauds are codified in the Criminal Code under Section 342 and include both stealing and using the credit card itself (S. 342 (1)) and unauthorized use of credit card data (S. 342 (3)).
Credit card fraud in a broad sense is using a credit card or credit card information when an accused is not authorized to do so. It can be a type of identity theft where a perpetrator obtains personal information from an unsuspecting party to use their credit card. Credit card fraud can also cause the victim of the fraud not only a financial loss but a risk of destroying their credit score. Credit card fraud has become more common as most transactions are done online making it easier to conceal identity. Our electronic world has changed the face of theft and fraud, and the way Mississauga defence lawyers need to be trained.
Credit fraud is the criminal use of someone else’s personal credentials, as well as their credit standing, to borrow money or use credit cards to purchase goods or services with no intention of repaying the debt. Credit card fraud, by definition, is the fraudulent use of a credit card done so through the theft of the cardholder’s personal details. Thanks to the invention of the internet and the endless supply of eCommerce sites that came with it, credit card scammers now have an easier time than ever pinching your details.
Credit card fraud is a potential consequence of identity theft. Here, a thief steals your credit card information and then makes purchases in a store or online. Most credit card companies have a liability limit of $50. This means that even if a thief has charged thousands of dollars to your card, you’d likely only have to pay $50. More often than not, credit card companies simply wipe out any charges that are the result of fraud.
Credit card fraud schemes generally fall into one of two categories of fraud: Application fraud and Account takeover.
Application fraud refers to the unauthorized opening of credit card accounts in another person’s name. This may occur if a perpetrator can obtain enough personal information about the victim to completely fill out the credit card application, or is able to create convincing counterfeit documents. Application fraud schemes are serious because a victim may learn about the fraud too late, if ever.
The definition of account takeover (ATO) or account takeover fraud is obtaining a legitimate user’s details to take over their online accounts, possibly enabling monetary or credit card theft. ATO can happen with an automated script that enters the credentials en masse or with a human typing them and accessing the account. The goal of ATO is to make a profit using the value of the account.
Identity theft is an umbrella term that encompasses any crime where someone wrongfully accesses and uses another person’s personal information for economic gain. While credit card fraud is one form of identity theft, it’s only the tip of the iceberg.
Identity theft involves the use of illegally obtained information about you, like your name, birthday, Social Security number, credit card numbers and more, in order to use existing credit accounts or open new ones in your name. When this happens, criminals capture the spending power of your credit while you get stuck with the bill.
Identity fraud is the use of that identity information to carry out various forms of fraud, such as impersonating another individual, or the misuse of credit card data. Increasingly, identity fraud is occurring electronically through phishing and similar scams, making the crime more sophisticated, but also implicating many more individuals when police make arrests.
Is credit card fraud considered a felony or a misdemeanor? That depends on the province in which the crime was committed. Different provinces have different penalties and classifications for credit card fraud. Whether credit card fraud is a felony could also depend on how much a thief racks up in fraudulent purchases.
There are also federal statutes that govern interstate and foreign commerce, making it illegal to use a stolen or fraudulently obtained credit or debit card.
The definition of the crime and its maximum punishments are found in Section 342 of the Criminal Code. The Code states if the accused is found guilty of credit card fraud or theft they can be sentenced to up to 6 months in jail if the Crown Attorney proceeds summarily or 10 years in prison if the Crown Attorney proceeds by indictment. For a conviction of Credit Card Fraud, you could be looking at heavy fines, and upwards of 10 years in prison. This will also gain you a criminal record, limiting your ability to travel, find gainful employment, your freedom, and cause damage to your professional reputation.
If you are convicted of credit card fraud, the convictions will appear on your criminal history, which is routinely checked by a number of people. Typically employers will conduct criminal background searches on potential employees to screen out some of the applicants. Since Credit Card Fraud involves moral turpitude and dishonesty, employers tend to not hire people with this type of background.
If you have been accused of credit card fraud, it is important to contact a Criminal Lawyer immediately.
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