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Credit Card Fraud

Criminal defense attorney David M. Dudley provides premier legal services for individuals facing serious charges such as credit card fraud. As a white-collar crimes lawyer, he has succeeded in getting charges substantially reduced and fines greatly diminished for individuals facing a variety of serious criminal charges.

There were 176.8 million credit cardholders in 2008, according to a survey by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston in January 2010. Practically everyone uses credit cards. They carry them in their wallets. They use them to buy goods on the Internet, over the telephone, and through the mail. All of these uses avail themselves to opportunistic criminals, waiting to use someone else’s card to pay for merchandise or make money for themselves.

What Are Examples of Credit Card Fraud?

Listed below are some of the most common types of credit card fraud:

  • Cards stolen from the wallets of an unwary shopper. Professional pickpockets are experienced in looking for distracted consumers, unaware when someone steals a card.
  • Using fraudulent cards for Internet orders is a frequent type of credit card fraud. Since the actual, physical card is not required, only the information they carry is required to make a dishonest purchase. The thief has no need to worry about being caught by the police or showing up on a security camera. This type of fraud hurts both the consumer, whose card was stolen, and the merchant supplying the goods. The merchant often ends up paying when the consumer protests and the card is charged back.
  • Mail orders carry similar risks to Internet orders.
  • Application fraud occurs when someone falsely applies for a credit card. Two types of fraud may occur in this circumstance, the applicant may use an assumed identity, pretending to be someone else or someone gives false financial information to obtain a credit card.
  • Intercept fraud occurs when a card is stolen from the mail before reaching its legitimate owner.
  • Lost cards are picked up and used by thieves.
  • Creating a false card from scratch or altering information on an existing card.
  • Site cloning and false merchant sites on the Internet trick people into handing over credit card information to thieves.
  • Phishing is another form of credit card fraud. This happens when internet-savvy thieves create sites that look like a legitimate bank site, for example, reproducing the logo and the presentation of information. They trick the consumer into providing their private bank account information.
  • Some credit card scammers take over someone’s account by creating another address and asking the credit card company to send them a new card.

How Serious a Crime is Credit Card Theft and Forgery?

For those who are skilled in stealing a credit card from the wallet or purse of another person, the next step, forgery, is an easy one. It is not difficult for the thief to sign someone else’s name for a purchase. The merchant may check the back of the card to see that it is signed but often does not check that signature against the forged signature of the thief. Thieves can also practice duplicating someone else’s signature.

Manufacturing Counterfeit Credit Cards

The Internet has sites that show how to manufacture credit cards as well as sites offering fake manufactured credit cards. In September, U.S. Secret Service special agents searched the apartment of a man running a counterfeit credit card manufacturing operation. He had 21,000 stolen credit card numbers with related information. Thousands of fraudulent transactions using these credit card numbers totaled over $3 million.

Contact a Credit Card Fraud Lawyer

If you’ve been accused of credit card fraud, contact David M. Dudley, a state and federal credit card fraud attorney with a wealth of experience defending clients against charges of credit card fraud. He has succeeded in getting charges substantially reduced and fines greatly diminished for the people he has represented.

Case Results: Credit Card Fraud

  • U.S. v. R.S.: Paying retail clerks and medical receptionists to scan the credit cards of customers, the defendant used the information obtained to manufacture counterfeit credit cards. When he was indicted federally, the government claimed that he had caused losses of over $1,000,000 to cardholders and financial institutions. After reaching a plea bargain that left open the issue of aggregate loss, Attorney Dudley convinced the court to apply a reasonable doubt standard to the government’s claim of how much money his conduct caused victims, even though the court was not legally required to use such a high standard. Applying that standard of proof, the court found that the government could only demonstrate losses of $420,000. The court then departed slightly downward from the resulting guideline range to impose a sentence of 46 months, 41 months lower than the government’s recommendation.
  • U.S. v. W.R.: The federal government charged the defendant with causing more than $140,000 in losses as part of a credit card scheme. Attorney Dudley was able to negotiate a disposition pursuant to which the defendant received a sentence of only 15 months.
  • U.S. v. W.C.: The defendant managed several major music artists. During a nationwide tour, an employee of his company used several fraudulent credit cards to pay for hotel rooms, airline tickets, and other expenses. The federal government subsequently indicted the defendant for mail and wire fraud. Before trial, however, Attorney Dudley was able to convince the Assistant United States Attorneys handling the prosecution to DISMISS the indictment against his client.