Credit card fraud is a serious crime with penalties of imprisonment and hefty fines. Data breaches, identity theft and credit card fraud are on the rise and affect millions of people. Washington state specifically outlaws making fraudulent transactions with credit cards.

There are many methods and consequences of credit card fraud. Here is some important information to know about this white-collar offense.

Common types of credit card crimes

 Credit card fraud refers to a wide variety of criminal acts:

  • Submitting a fraudulent credit card application
  • Creating a fake card after obtaining details with a skimming device
  • Stealing a card from a mailbox
  • Sending a phishing email posing as a creditor or bank
  • Making unauthorized purchases online with credit card information even if the physical card is not present

Whether the outcome is a fraudulent spending spree or identity theft, it can come with harsh repercussions for the perpetrator.

Criminal penalties

 Each state has its own guidelines and penalties for credit card offenses. Washington laws categorize credit card fraud in two ways: “card present” offenses and “card not present” offenses. At the very least, credit card fraud constitutes a Class C felony, which is punishable by $10,000 in fines and five years of imprisonment.

Civil lawsuits

 A victim of credit card fraud may also pursue a civil suit against the thief. This may result in the perpetrator paying the expenses of court costs, attorneys’ fees and repair to the victim’s credit report. It is important to note that a civil case requires a much lower burden of proof than a criminal one.

Other consequences

 If someone receives a conviction for credit card fraud, he or she may face various other ramifications. A credit card fraud conviction can impact job prospects and the ability to rent an apartment. It can also impact relationships with friends, family members and partners – not to mention that it can have a negative impact on the overall reputation of the perpetrator.