Credit card fraud is a two-part criminal offense

Griffin Law, PLLC
Nov 29, 2023

Thanks to the convenience of credit cards, people can easily buy expensive items. Using cards also means you don’t have to bring cash every time you go shopping, which might be a safer option for some.

But credit cards aren’t entirely safe from fraudsters. There are many ways for devious individuals to come across another person’s credit card numbers and details, such as mail theft, phishing, fake websites, etc.

Using another person’s credit card and security details is a two-part crime in North Carolina. Anyone convicted can expect multiple penalties.

Stealing identifying information is a crime

Per North Carolina rules, a person who knowingly obtains, possesses or utilizes identifying information of another to fraudulently represent the other person when making financial transactions commits the offense of identity theft. Identifying information includes a person’s credit card numbers, debit card numbers, checking and savings account numbers.

This offense is a Class G felony, with a maximum imprisonment period of 47 months. But it becomes a Class F felony instead if the credit card fraud offense led to the victim and original cardholder suffering arrest or a conviction or if the offender possesses identifying information from three or more people. A conviction for a Class F felony leads to up to 59 months in prison.

Unauthorized use of credit cards is a separate offense

State rules also prohibit persons from using another person’s credit card or device without permission. This is a Class 2 misdemeanor, which leads to 60 days of jail time and a $1,000 fine.

In summary, stealing and using another person’s credit card can lead to two separate criminal offenses, each with its penalties on conviction. Anyone facing these two charges should consult with a legal professional on how to handle both because their punishments can quickly add up.

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