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Charged with a credit card offense? Here's what you should know.

In the State of New York, two behaviors involving credit cards are prohibited by criminal law. In many cases, these laws governing the use of credit cards also apply to public benefit cards such as those used in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

The first type of New York State (NYS) criminal credit card offense involves using a credit, debit, or public assistance that the user knows was stolen. Possession of a stolen credit card is a Class E felony with a penalty of up to 4 years in jail, a $5,000 fine or double the amount gained by the fraudulent use of credit cards.

The second criminal offense addressed by the legislature is the prohibition of using or displaying a card that the user knows is revoked or canceled. If this describes you, it is likely you will be charged with a misdemeanor that carries a penalty of up to one year and up to $1,000.

You May Be Breaking The Law And Not Know It

Everyday consumers use credit cards, debit cards, and even public assistance cards in ways that are illegal. There are four types of these incidents which are:

Using Another Person's Card

Maybe you take your elderly mother to a store shopping for groceries. When you checkout, Mom gives you her credit card and tells you to sign for her. Even though your Mom gave you permission, it is against the law.

Using A Fake Credit Card Number Online To Get A Free Trial

Many online subscription services require that you give them a valid credit card or debit card that will be charged after the free trial ends. Busy folks often forget to cancel ant their card is charged. Some consumers are enticed by sites that give you usable fake credit card numbers. These infractions are credit card offenses and you could be charged with misusing credit cards.

Chargeback Fraud

Suppose you charge something online and later dispute the charge. It is likely the bank will credit your account - but if you received the product and kept it, you are committing credit card fraud.

It isn't the dispute that is illegal - what is illegal is disputing a charge simply to avoid payment - banks sometimes call this friendly fraud.

Untruthful Credit Card Applications

When you purposely lie on a credit card application, you can be charged with theft by deception and larceny. If you get caught, criminal charges could follow, although prosecution of this type of activity is limited.

In additional to facing charges in state court, you can be charged by the United States Department of Justice with federal charges that carry stiffer penalties than NYS. If you used the phone or internet in an illegal credit card scheme you could be charged with wire fraud and other federal crimes.

If you are charged with misuse of a credit card seek out a criminal lawyer experienced in criminal law. With the potential for serving time in jail or prison and the potential of a hefty fine, you need an attorney that is on your side all of the time.

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Robert D. DiDio
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Kew Gardens, NY 11415

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