While credit card and debit card fraud are classified under the general umbrella of fraud, Georgia law has specific guidelines in place for managing specific behaviors and activities involving credit cards and debit cards. One likely explanation for the separate laws is the fact that so many people in Georgia, and all across the United States, choose to use credit cards and debit cards as payment in place of cash or checks.
Credit card and debit card fraud fall under the umbrella of fraud and identity theft, with specific provisions outlined in section 16 of Georgia’s legal code. There are many ways to fraudulently use a credit card or debit card, and in some cases, the activity is not meant to be criminal, but is treated equally as seriously. It is common for friends and family to borrow credit cards or debit cards, and in some cases, the individual may choose to extend the given limit, may lose the card, or may participate in illegal activity. Fraud is a complicated area of the law, and a competent criminal defense attorney should carefully examine any criminal case alleging fraud.
Georgia Credit Card and Debit Card Fraud Laws
Currently, Georgia law states the following in regard to credit card and debit card fraud:
Under Georgia law, the following behaviors are prohibited:
- Taking a credit card or debit card from the rightful cardholder without his or her permission
- Possessing a credit card or debit card that is knowingly stolen
- Possessing a credit card or debit card that is lost with the intention to sell it at a later date
- Purchasing a credit card or debit card from someone else that is stolen
- Possessing two or more credit cards or debit cards that are stolen, lost, or forged within a one year period
- Creation of a fraudulent credit card or debit card with the intention of defrauding
- Fraudulently encoding a credit card or debit card with the intention of defrauding, specifically changing the magnetic strip on the card
- Using a credit card or debit card that is knowingly lost, stolen, revoked, expired, altered, or fraudulently obtained
In addition to these behaviors, it is also prohibited for a business owner, operator, or employee to knowingly accept a credit card or debit card that is fraudulent, or to alter a receipt.
Penalties for Credit Card or Debit Card Fraud
As mentioned before, Georgia law is strict regarding credit card and debit card fraud, especially as more and more individuals choose this method of payment. Therefore, the penalties for a conviction are also strict and severe. The most common penalties for a conviction of credit card or debit card fraud include:
- Forgery of a Credit Card or Debit Card - Punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 and up to three years in prison
- Credit Card or Debit Card Theft – Punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 and up to three years in prison
- Credit Card or Debit Card Fraud – Punishment varies depending on the value of the fraud
In addition to the fines and possible incarceration, most convictions for credit card or debit card fraud also include restitution to the victim, which can be expensive.
Get Help with Your Fraud Case
If you have been accused of credit card or debit card fraud and want to avoid a damaging conviction, call Abt Law Firm, LLC at 1-800-NOJAIL-9 (1-800-665-2459). Let our experienced Atlanta Criminal Defense Attorney help you get the best results possible for your case.