When a person uses a credit card to commit theft or fraud, the legal system often refers to it as credit card fraud. Usually, when you think about credit card fraud, you think of someone using a skimmer to steal your information at a gas pump or someone using your information to get an entirely new card. What you do not think about is that you may be accidentally committing credit card fraud as a legal cardholder.
While we typically only equate credit card fraud with someone stealing our card information and running up charges thousands of miles away, the reality is that there are many activities that fall within the realm of this type of fraud. One of the reasons why you may unknowingly be committing credit card fraud is because the terms and conditions of the financial institution backing the card can be convoluted and difficult to understand. Unfortunately, even committing the fraud accidentally can come with some lasting consequences. Read further to find out more about some ways you might be accidentally committing credit card fraud.
Letting someone else use your card
Generally, when you let someone else use your credit card, you are probably breaking the terms of the contract you signed to get the card in the first place. This means that if you let your girlfriend use your credit card and she went on a shopping spree then texted you that your relationship was over, the credit company will probably tell you that you are out of luck. In other words, they will not let you make a claim against those charges and you will be responsible for the bill.
Entering false card information for a free trial
We all know it is a pain in the neck to cancel a free trial, especially since companies tend to purposefully make it confusing and difficult to do so. However, this does not mean that it a good idea to use a fake credit card number to sign up for a new service. If you purchase a "fake" credit number from an online provider, you really have no way of knowing if the number truly is fake or if it is a stolen number. The last thing you want is try using one of these numbers and have the police knocking on the door because you actually used someone else's stolen credit card information.
When you make a purchase with your credit card and then dispute the charges with your card company, thereby receiving a refund for goods you fully intend to keep, you are committing chargeback fraud. This might happen by accident if you were a victim of credit card theft and you included some legitimate charges in your claim for fraudulent activity. While making an honest mistake may not land you in jail, purposely engaging in chargeback fraud will definitely cause you some legal problems.
Applying for a card under false pretenses
People make mistakes all the time. For example, perhaps you were in a hurry when you filled out the credit card application and accidentally transposed the last two digits in your zip code. These things happen and can be easily fixed. However, if you provided false information on your application, such as a different name, the wrong age or inflated income, you are being deceptive and actually committing theft. Falsifying the information on a credit card application can come with some nasty penalties including fines, probation and possible jail time.
If you have been accused of credit card fraud, it is important to remember that you still have rights and options. Your attorney can help you build a defense to fight back against credit card fraud charges.