Credit card theft occurs when a person steals another person’s credit card or credit card information in attempts to use that person’s credit without authorization. Credit card theft has grown in recent decades and often costs businesses and consumers very large amounts of money each year. The crime is often categorized in the white collar crimes in state criminal statutes.

How Is Credit Card Theft Punished?

Credit card theft is often characterized as either a misdemeanor or a felony for more serious theft cases. The crime is punishable by a jail or prison sentence, which often depends on how much was stolen. Also, the defendant may sometimes be required to pay criminal restitution in order to reimburse the victim for losses caused by the theft.

How Is Credit Card Theft Accomplished?

Credit card theft is somewhat unique in that the actual, physical card often does not need to be stolen in order to accomplish the crime. Instead, the thief often gets a hold of information such as the credit card account number, the person’s password, and their personal information such as address, date of birth, social security number, etc.

This can be done through a number of means associated with identity theft crimes, such as:

  • Hacking into one’s computer or online accounts to retrieve information
  • Perpetrating scams or fraud schemes aimed at obtaining the person’s info
  • Theft of other physical items that contain the person’s data (such as a wallet or purse)
  • Capitalizing on the victim’s stress or worries regarding heavy credit card debt

Stealing a person’s physical credit card is often useless unless the thief also gets a hold of the personal information as well. Therefore it’s important that a person protects their personal and confidential information carefully, in addition to keeping their cards in a safe place. By being aware of how credit card thieves operate, it is possible to reduce the risk of such thefts from happening.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with Credit Card Theft?

Credit card theft can carry very significant legal penalties with it. If you believe that you have been involved in a credit card theft violation, you may wish to speak with a criminal attorney in your area. Hiring an attorney can ensure that your rights are protected, and that you are informed of all the options in terms of legal courses of action.