How Can You Commit Federal Credit Card Fraud?

Credit card fraud can be perpetrated on a very large scale. Some criminal organizations steal information from many people at once, usually through some type of online scam or phishing scam.


In the federal system, credit card fraud can be charged forsimply using a credit card fraudulently one time without the permission of the owner. It’s a very serious charge  that can result in a lenghty prisdon term.


Here’s what you need to know about federal credit card fraud, including the types of fraud that can be prosecuted and the penalties that can be faced.


What Acts Are Considered Federal Credit Card Fraud?


Under federal law, credit card fraud covers quite a range of conduct. There are several actions that constitute credit card fraud in federal court, including:


Card Theft


When you physically take the card from the owner’s possession without their permission and use it to make purchases, then you are committing credit card fraud.




This is a type of credit card fraud that happens quite frequently. A device that can be used to store credit card information is placed on a credit card reader in a way that isn’t easily detectable. When someone uses the credit card reader – like at a gas pump – the skimmer sends information to the perpetrator.


Card-Not-Present Fraud


This covers the use of credit cards fraudulently when you’re not in physical possession of them. In other words, you have the credit card information of another and use it to make purchases online without their permission.


Application Fraud


This type of credit card fraud occurs when someone steals identifying information from another person and uses it to open a credit card account in that person’s name. It is also a form of identity theft.


With any type of credit card fraud, intent is the key. It must be shown that the fraud was perpetrated knowingly in order for the defendant to be found guilty in the court of law. Federal credit card fraud laws tend to focus on foreign or interstate commerce.


Penalties for Federal Credit Card Fraud


The penalties associated with federal credit card fraud depend on the nature of the offense and how severe it was. If the credit card is merely stolen but never used, then it can be treated as a misdemeanor – but it could also qualify as a felony. It’s really up to the court.


Penalties for Federal Credit Card Fraud

If there is theft of a card involved in a credit card fraud crime, then it’s likely that a person will face up to five years in prison. For any case involving identity fraud, as well, you’re looking at up to 20 years in prison. Tools that are used in the commission of credit card fraud, such as skimmers, can add time onto the penalty as well.


Credit card fraud, either at a small scale or a much larger one, is taken seriously. If you are prosecuted in federal court for it, then you can face serious penalties, so make sure to understand the charges against you completely.