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Credit Card Fraud

According to the Nilson Report, a trade newsletter covering the credit card industry,  global fraud on all credit, debit and prepayment cards reached $21.84 billion last year. The losses in the United States were more than $8.45 billion, or 38.7% of the total volume. Thus, the study found that the United States is responsible for more than a third of the world’s credit card fraud.  

Credit card fraud has also increased dramatically in Florida over the last few years. These types of cases are taken very seriously by law enforcement officers and prosecutors in Broward County, FL.

Those convicted of credit card fraud in Florida are often subjected to steep penalties. Understanding your legal options after an accusation of credit card fraud is crucial to your defense.

Credit Card Fraud Attorney in Broward County, FL.

If you have been charged with credit card fraud in Broward County, contact a Fort Lauderdale credit card fraud lawyer at Meltzer & Bell at (954) 765-6585. The state of Florida has harsh sentencing for white collar crimes, including credit card fraud, but you have a right to be represented and Meltzer & Bell can help.

At Meltzer & Bell, our criminal defense attorneys have experience dealing with complex matters in the 17th Judicial Circuit in Broward County. Our Fort Lauderdale-based office represents clients throughout Broward County, including Pembroke Pines, Miramar, Coral Springs, Hollywood, Pompano Beach, Wilton Manors and surrounding areas.

Information About Credit Card Fraud in Florida

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Definition of Credit Card Fraud in Florida

Under Florida’s State Credit Card Crime Act, it is illegal for a person to use a credit card or debit card without the owner’s consent. Using a credit card that has been forged, stolen, revoked or expired also is illegal, according to state law.

Trafficking stolen or counterfeit credit cards, which means producing forged credit cards or selling stolen cards or card numbers, is illegal in Florida and carries a more serious charge.

Credit card fraud also can be committed if a person who was given a credit or debit card to purchase goods or services fails to do so, but says he or she did, and uses the credit or debit card for other purposes without the owner’s permission.

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Penalties for Credit Card Fraud in Broward County

In Fort Lauderdale, the penalties for credit card fraud can be determined by the amount of money stolen from the account and the time in which it was taken. A conviction could result in a misdemeanor or a felony, which could include jail time and fines.

If a credit or debit card was used to obtain more than $100 worth of goods or property more than twice in six months, the crime is considered a third degree felony, according to Florida Statutes Annotated § 817.61. If you are convicted of a third degree felony, you could face up to five years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines.

If the card was used to acquire less than $100, it is considered a first degree misdemeanor. A first degree misdemeanor conviction could carry a sentence of up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.

Trafficking 10 or more credit cards or their account numbers in a six-month period is considered a second degree felony, which, if convicted, could include up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

Large-Scale Credit Card Fraud Operations

In 2015, it is estimated that more 32,000,000 Americans were the victims of credit card fraud. Although retailers and consumers are moving to more secure types of credit card, allegations of fraud will continue. The old types of credit cards used a magnetic strip.

The new credit cards being issued use a new chip and PIN system. It is expected that only half of the cards in the hands of consumers will have the new technology by the end of 2016. Also, less than half of retailers will be prepared to use the new chip at the point of sale. 

Many of these credit card fraud cases prosecuted at the state level involve an allegation that one person stole the actual physical credit card from a victim. Large scale credit card fraud involves obtaining credit card information from the victim. In many of these cases, the information is obtained using a  credit card skimmers. 

A credit card skimmer is a small device used at the point of sale. Although unknown to the consumer and the retailer, when the card is swiped the devices logs the credit card information electronically. Many of these credit card skimmers are used at the gas pump or other places where the criminal has easy access to the point of sale. The person accused of the crime places the skimmer and then retrieves it later. 

Criminal also gain information by hacking into a commercial database used by the retailer. Once the information is obtained, the criminal can encode the information onto a blank card’s magnetic strip which becomes a fraudulent credit card. Many people arrested for large-scale credit card fraud are found with several cards in their possession that have been re-encoded with stolen credit card information. 

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Finding Attorneys in Broward County for Credit Card Fraud

If you are facing charges for credit card fraud in Broward County, you need an experienced Fort Lauderdale credit card fraud defense lawyer at Meltzer & Bell to fight for your rights. Attorneys at Meltzer & Bell work with clients to get the best possible outcome and to ease the burden of the legal process.

Meltzer & Bell serves clients who have been accused of credit card fraud in Fort Lauderdale, Pembroke Pines, Miramar, Coral Springs, Hollywood, Plantation, Davie, Sunrise, Weston, Pompano Beach, Wilton Manors and surrounding areas. Call Meltzer & Bell at (954) 765-6585 to schedule a consultation.

This article was last updated on Friday, October 27, 2016.

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