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Kathryn L. Harry & Associates, P.C.
630-472-9700Available 24/7

Credit Card Fraud in Illinois

Posted on in Chicago criminal defense lawyer

credit card fraudTheft. Fraud. Misappropriation. Possession. Receipt. All of these terms have legal significance under the Credit and Debit Card Fraud Act of the Illinois Criminal Code. While the broad term of credit card fraud encompasses an array of specific crimes, credit card fraud is generally defined as a person using, obtaining, possessing, selling, or buying a credit card bearing a false number or a number that does not belong to him or her. Misusing a credit card that has not been lawfully issued to you is a serious crime that may lead to federal penalties.

What Constitutes Credit Card Fraud?

Credit card fraud comes in many forms. Some of the most common, as laid out in the Illinois Credit and Debit Card Fraud Act, include:

  • Making false statements in order to obtain a credit card from a credit card company (i.e. lying about employment, salary, address, social security number, etc. Note that these crimes can lead to more serious offenses such as identity theft);
  • Using another person’s credit/debit card or credit/debit card number without permission;
  • Using a credit card that you found or that you know does not belong to you;
  • Selling or buying a credit/debit card;
  • Receiving unauthorized cash advances; and
  • Using or altering counterfeit, forged, expired, revoked or unissued credit/debit cards.

Note that many of these offenses do not require physical use of the card; in a digital age, many forms of credit card fraud involve using a credit card number online without permission to do so. This is the manner in which people have been able to defraud consumers once obtaining their information through big box stores in recent months, for example.

What Are the Punishments for Committing Credit Card Fraud?

Both the civil and criminal penalties associated with credit card fraud will obviously depend on the nature of the act, but also the amount defrauded, the manner in which the fraud was conducted, and the goods/service/benefits received on the fraudulent user. Punishments may range from Class A Misdemeanors (the most severe categorization of misdemeanor charges) to a Class 3 or 4 Felony, which can mandate prison time. Most offenses will instead, or in addition, impose hefty fines or probationary periods.

Credit card fraud is also one of many areas of Illinois law that increase the punishments for repeat offenders defrauding multiple people. This is particularly true if there are multiple offenses within a short period of time. For example, simple possession of another’s credit/debit card is a Class A Misdemeanor. However, if this crime is committed with respect to three or more cards with three or more account holders, the person may be guilty of a Class 4 felony.

Credit Card Fraud Criminal Defense Attorneys

When people face financial difficulty, it can be tempting to take the easy way out. Using another person’s credit or debit card is a serious crime, however, and an investigation into the possibility of fraud should not be taken lightly. At Kathryn L. Harry & Associates, P.C., our DuPage County criminal defense attorneys will work with you to minimize the charges and consequences of the mistakes you have made. We believe in a clean slate, and will work hard on your behalf to try to have your charges minimized, dropped, and/or eventually removed from your criminal record. Everyone deserves a fresh start; contact one of our three convenient Chicago-area offices today at 630-472-9700.

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