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What is the Difference Between Credit Card Fraud and General Fraud in New Jersey?

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People will often use the term ‘fraud’ to describe a wide range of criminal activity. Most people know that it normally involves deception and theft in some way shape or form. Beyond that, there’s a lot of other details about fraud that may seem vague or confusing. If you’re facing fraud charges, it’s important to know how fraud is handled in the state of New Jersey. For instance, credit card fraud is handled differently than tax fraud or health care fraud. In this article, we explain the laws defining credit card fraud in New Jersey in comparison to other general fraud charges.

How is General Fraud in New Jersey Defined?

First, it’s important to have a general idea of what fraud is before you can break it down into its various categories. The backbone of general fraud is intentional deception. How that intentional deception is played out will determine what kind of fraud it is. According to law, fraud is when intentional deception is used to secure unfair gains and/or deprive a victim of a legal right. Fraud may be used to obtain unfair gains or rob a victim of a right in a number of different ways. For instance, a person can commit fraud and violate a civil law or criminal law.

Elements of a General Fraud Case

There are specific factors that need to be addressed in order to successfully charge someone with general fraud in New Jersey:

  • The defendant intended to deceive the victim
  • Defendant was well aware that the details involved were not facts
  • The defendant made a false representation
  • The victim believed the false representation
  • The victim faced unfair consequences as a result of this false representation

How is Credit Card Fraud in New Jersey Defined?

There are a few criminal laws regarding credit card fraud in New Jersey. They fall into two major categories. The first category involves identifying how the credit card was obtained. The second category involves identifying how the card was used. There is one major element of credit card fraud in New Jersey, under N.J.S.A. 2C:21-6(b)-(c), that victims and violators should be aware of. You don’t actually have to use the credit card in order to be convicted of credit card fraud. This element primarily focuses on intentional deception. If you had the intent to commit fraud, but never actually benefitted from the credit card, you can still be found guilty. A common defense for credit card fraud would be to prove that the intention was never there.

Common Types of Credit Card Fraud

The penalties for committing credit card fraud in New Jersey will vary. It could be considered a misdemeanor or a felony, but this will depend on the level and nature of the crime. It’s also important to know that “credit card” can be defined by any tangible or intangible card or device that can be used to obtain money, goods, or services. This could include credit cards, credit plates, account numbers, or any other means of account access.

Credit Card Application Fraud:

If you apply for a credit card and use false information in the application, you can be charged with credit card application fraud. Lying about either your identity or your finances is a crime. If you use false statements to get a credit card, you can receive a sentence of up to 18 months in jail and up to $10,000 in fines.

Credit Card Theft:

You can be charged with credit card theft if you took someone else’s credit card illegally. You can also be charged with credit card theft if someone gave you a stolen credit card and you used it with the full knowledge that the card was stolen.

Altering a Credit Card:

Altering a credit card is a crime that’s taken very seriously in the state of New Jersey. This is when someone unlawfully increases a card’s credit limit or alters a magnetic strip on a credit card.

Copying a Sales Receipt from a Vendor:

If a cashier or employee makes a copy of a credit card number from a sales receipt, it’s considered credit card fraud in New Jersey.

Internet Theft:

If you are caught stealing credit card numbers or other financial information off of the Internet with the intention of use, you can be charged with credit card fraud.

For More Information on Credit Card Fraud in New Jersey

If you’ve been charged with general fraud or credit card fraud, it’s important to speak with a criminal defense attorney.  An attorney can help you understand the complex laws surrounding credit card fraud in New Jersey. In addition, an experienced criminal defense attorney can help you build your case, negotiate with a prosecutor, or help you with a plea deal. Contact a trusted attorney today to learn more about your options!

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