Identity theft , in all of its various forms, is an increasingly growing problem all across the nation, causing consumers and business owners alike to sit up and take note of such troublesome trends. CBS News announced that in 2014 alone, IBM reported that more than one billion records containing personal information were leaked. Additionally, identity theft was the number one complaint to the Federal Trade Commission in 2014 and continues to be a major complaint year after year.
Are You Guilty?
With identity theft cases on the rise, more and more victims are speaking out in order to protect their money, credit, and reputation. Credit card theft is especially prevalent, and it comes as a surprise to many that serious credit card theft is not limited to seasoned criminals. In fact, many people unknowingly commit credit card theft or merely blur the lines with their actions with the hopes that a few little white lies won’t actually count as credit card theft . If you have ever even vaguely wondered if your credit card use is legally permissible, chances are you may be guilty of some form of fraudulent activity.
The Most Common Forms of Credit Card Fraud
Regardless of your intentions, if you have done any of the following , you may be in danger of facing charges for identity theft:
1. Request a refund with or without deceitful intent – Even if you forgot about a charge you indeed made to your credit card, calling the credit card company to request a refund for that charge if you actually made the purchase is considered fraud. Also known as chargeback fraud, this practice is often deliberately used by those wishing to profit twofold from merchandise purchases. They not only have the money they originally spent returned to them but they also keep the merchandise. If you ever report an unauthorized purchase and request to have the funds credited back to you, check to make sure the purchase was not one that you made.
2. Provide false information – Even the smallest lie on a credit application can land you in legal hot water if you are not careful. Many people found guilty of credit card fraud have embellished information on their applications regarding their income amounts, place of employment, and even their age. Intentionally providing false or misleading information on an application can result in a number of penalties, including up to fifteen years of imprisonment, hefty fines, and a range of criminal charges.
3. Claim Someone Else’s Pre-Approved Credit Offer – It does not matter if your brother discarded a pre-approved credit application letter he received in the mail – if you claim that pre-approval letter as your own and open the account under his information, you are committing fraud. Pretending to be someone else, even if you have that person’s permission to use their personal information, is never permissible by law. This standard also applies to other credit card activity, such as using someone else’s credit card at the store or signing on someone’s behalf.
If you have knowingly or unwittingly committed some form of credit card fraud, it is important to speak with a skilled Joliet criminal law attorney to protect your rights and minimize the damage to your record and reputation. Call the Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba today at 815-740-4025 for a free consultation.