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Credit card fraud laws to know when charged

Just because a credit card is made out of plastic doesn't mean that it doesn't contain access to real money. Most people understand this concept, as plastic spends just as easily as does paper bills. However, sometimes the concept can get misconstrued in terms of access to credit card, what is allowed and what isn't. It can lead to instances where a person is charged with credit card fraud.

It's important to understand that a criminal charge related to credit card fraud is a serious offense that can have lasting consequences if convicted. Credit card fraud is based on state law and in Pennsylvania you can be convicted of credit card fraud if you have the card or access to the pertinent information on the card to make a purchase. You can even be convicted of this crime if you haven't actually spent any of the money. The mere act of possessing it and knowing it is counterfeit or has not been authorized for use constitutes credit card fraud.

There are defenses to credit card fraud charges that hinge on the basis of lack of knowledge or lack of intent. If lack of intent or knowledge can be proved by the defense this can successfully rebut the accusations that one was engaged or about to engage in credit card fraud. Credit card fraud can be charged as a misdemeanor or as a felony depending on the circumstances surrounding the alleged incident. Factors like the value of any accused theft or loss would have an impact on whether the charge is a misdemeanor or a felony.

Realizing that you or a loved one is being charged with a serious crime like credit card fraud can be shocking. Understanding what the charge is and the possible penalties it can carry with a conviction are key to building a criminal defense. A good criminal defense will tell the accused's side of the story and take into account pertinent facts and evidence rebutting the prosecution's claims. Credit card fraud is a criminal charge that assumes the accused is innocent until proven guilty.

Source:, "Pennsylvania Credit Card Fraud Laws," Accessed March 27, 2018

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