What to Do If Accused of Credit Card Fraud

Credit card fraud was already skyrocketing in popularity in recent years, and the pandemic sent that number even higher. In fact, credit card fraud increased from 17,236 reports in the first quarter of 2015 to 45,120 reports in the same quarter of 2020, according to research conducted by Atlas VPN. That’s an increase of 161.7 percent. However, not all accusations of credit card fraud are proper, and, in some instances, you may be wrongfully accused by a party who gave verbal permission to use their card or open an account. When this happens, it’s important to discuss your defense with a fraud defense attorney in Tampa. In this brief article, we share a few tips on how to protect yourself in the event that you have been accused of credit card fraud.

Related: Credit Card Fraud: How One Swipe Can Lead to a Felony

What Constitutes Credit Card Fraud in Florida?

Florida Statute 817.61 has an extensive and comprehensive description of credit card fraud. However, in Florida, the general definition of fraudulent use of credit cards is considered an attempt to defraud a person or organization for the purpose of “obtaining money, goods, services, or anything else of value” by using a forged credit card, passing off that you’re the holder of the card, or using a card that has not been issued. Florida law considers a credit card to be a “credit card, credit plate, bank service card, banking card, check guarantee card, electronic benefits transfer (EBT) card, or debit card or by any other name.”

Under Florida law, committing credit card fraud two or fewer times in any six-month period to obtain money, goods, or services valued at less than $100 is a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to a one-year prison sentence and $1,000 fine. Thus, if over a six-month period of time, a person were to commit credit card fraud two or more times to obtain money, goods, or services valued at greater than $100, they would be charged with a third-degree felony punishable by up to a five-year prison sentence and $5,000 fine.

Tips to Protect Yourself Against Fraud Accusations

As you may have noticed in the definition of fraud above, attempting to pass as the holder of the card or using a card not issued qualifies as credit card fraud. However, the burden of proof lies on the prosecutor. This means that it must be proven that you did not have permission, or likely would not have had permission, to use the card in question. This is especially important when using a business card or a personal card for business purchases.

There are a few things you can do to protect yourself against these accusations, including:

  • Staying away from verbal agreements to charge purchases to a card that is not yours
  • Maintaining all signatures and documentation from the cardholder
  • Keeping receipts for any purchases that may be in question to prove they were purchased with the cardholder’s permission

Related: 8 Ways You Can Be Accused of Fraud

What Should You Do If Accused of Credit Card Fraud?

If you have been accused of committing credit card fraud, you should contact a fraud defense lawyer in Tampa with The Rickman Law Firm as soon as possible. A skilled attorney will answer all of your questions and discuss the best defense for your unique case.

For a free consultation with a fraud defense lawyer in Tampa, please contact The Rickman Law Firm today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

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