Facing Charges of Credit Card Fraud? Credit Card Fraud Lawyer Charles Johnson Can Protect Your Future


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It is possible to simply be accused of credit card fraud or for there to be circumstances in the case that constitute reduced charges, which means reduced penalties. No matter the case, it is important to have a Houston Credit Card Fraud Attorney to help you from the time you are accused until the end of the case.

If you are investigated for a credit card fraud crime in Houston, do not discuss anything with detectives. Even if you believe that you are innocent of the accusations or think that you can simply “explain what happened” so that the the problem is resolved, it is not wise to say anything to an investigator. Always insist on talking to an attorney first. If you have been arrested for Credit Card Fraud in Houston, TX, take fast action with a skilled and resourceful Houston Criminal Lawyer. Contact the Charles Johnson Law Firm immediately anytime night or day for a free phone consultation at (713) 222-7577 to discuss your case.

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Facing Charges of Credit Card Fraud? Credit Card Fraud Lawyer Charles Johnson Can Protect Your Future

  1. 1. Facing Allegations of Credit Card Fraud? Houston White Collar Crimes Lawyer Charles Johnson Can Protect Your Future Credit card fraud is a wide-ranging term for theft and fraud committed using a credit card or any similar payment mechanism as a fraudulent source of funds in a transaction. The purpose may be to obtain goods without paying, or to obtain unauthorized funds from an account. Credit card fraud is an intricate crime, which is aggressively prosecuted by authorities. An accusation of credit card fraud can have serious negative consequences for individuals and businesses. If you are facing allegations of bank card fraud, you may be facing jail time and significant fines if found guilty. In addition, if you are a business owner, you may lose what you have worked so hard to build. If youare under investigation for credit card fraud or if you are facing charges of credit card fraud, you need thesupport of a knowledgeable and experienced Houston White Collar Crimes Lawyer.Credit Card Fraud is rather common all over the United States, as is the prosecution rate for such crimes.Any form of credit card fraud or abuse — even the possession of someone else’s credit card with the intentionof committing fraud or theft — can be charged as a felony and lead to jail time and significant fines uponconviction. Whether you are accused of “borrowing” a friend’s Visa to pay for gas or you actively opened anaccount in someone else’s name and engaged in thousands of dollars of purchases, if you have been chargedwith fraud then you need experienced legal counsel.It is possible to simply be accused of credit card fraud or for there to be circumstances in the case thatconstitute reduced charges, which means reduced penalties. No matter the case, it is important to havea Houston Credit Card Fraud Attorney to help you from the time you are accused until the end of the case.If you are investigated for a credit card fraud crime in Houston, do not discuss anything with detectives.Even if you believe that you are innocent of the accusations or think that you can simply “explain whathappened” so that the the problem is resolved, it is not wise to say anything to an investigator. Always insiston talking to an attorney first. If you have been arrested for Credit Card Fraud in Houston, TX, take fastaction with a skilled and resourceful Houston Criminal Lawyer. Contact the Charles Johnson Law Firmimmediately anytime night or day for a free phone consultation at (713) 222-7577 to discuss yourcase.Overview of Texas Credit Card Fraud LawsPerforming a variety of fraudulent acts in connection with a credit card amounts to the crime of credit cardfraud in Texas. Prosecutors must be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt, that the defendant had anintent to receive some type of benefit by the following means, the most common of which are: 1
  2. 2.  Using a credit or debit card the defendant knows is not his own;  The card has expired, been revoked, or cancelled;  Using a fictitious card, or the pretended number of a fictitious card  Receiving any benefit that the defendant knows has been obtained by violation of this law;  Stealing a credit or debit card with the intent to use it, sell it or transfer it to anyone but the cardholder;  Buying a credit or debit card from someone the defendant knows is not the issuer of the card;  Selling a credit or debit card;  Inducing the cardholder to use his/her card to obtain property for the defendant’s benefit when the cardholder is financially unable to pay for it;  Possessing a credit or debit card that is not the defendant’s own and having the intent to use it.Credit card fraud is a problem that affects the entire consumer credit industry. It is one of the mostcommon types of fraud and also one of the most difficult to prevent. According to the Federal TradeCommission (FTC), credit-related complaints have consistently ranked among their top 10 complaints formany years. In fact, some organized crime rings and even drug dealers have shifted criminal career paths toengage in this simple, lucrative, and relatively safe form of crime.Credit card fraud can occur in person or via the Internet. Most consumer action groups, police departments,retail stores, and agencies, such as Better Business Bureaus (BBB) and the FTC, routinely release informationfor consumers on how to avoid credit card fraud and identity theft. Nevertheless, there are numerous forms ofcredit card fraud that are committed by enterprising thieves, organized rings, business owners, and evenotherwise legitimate cardholders.One method of obtaining account information or even an actual credit card is through postal theft. Othermethods that have proven surprisingly effective in obtaining personal information include impersonating acard or application verifier via telephone, obtaining copies of past bills, or utilizing on-linedirectories. In some situations, offenders are also able to take advantage of contacts within the variouscredit bureaus to obtain legitimate bankcard account information for counterfeiting or telephone orderpurchasing. After having illegally obtained legitimate cards or account information, offenders then createfictitious identification including driver’s licenses, social security cards, and other materials to aid in thecommission of credit card fraud.Once the information is obtained, there are several forms of fraud that can occur. One popular type of creditcard fraud is the advance payment scheme. This scheme utilizes counterfeit or stolen credit cards. Theoffender either makes an advance payment on the card or overpays an existing balance with a fraudulentcheck. Since the account is credited upon receipt of payment, cash advances can be immediately withdrawnbefore the payment check has cleared. Through numerous payments on numerous cards, an offender canrealize large profits within a relatively short period of time.Another type of credit card fraud involves the illegal counterfeiting of credit cards. New technology hasaided criminals in producing exact replicas of existing cards and in creating fraudulent cards including the so-called “hidden” counter-measures. Illegal counterfeiting may be primarily responsible for the overall upsurgein credit card fraud.Counterfeiters also buy and sell magnetic strips to produce fraudulent credit cards. The magnetic stripsare essential because they contain names, account numbers, credit limits, and other information for legitimate 2
  3. 3. or contrived Visa/MasterCard holders. By using a desktop computer system, source material, and peripheralequipment, a counterfeiter can produce a fraudulent bankcard with relative ease. As technology has improved,counterfeiting credit cards has become a multi-step process. These steps can often include using desktopcomputer systems and peripherals such as laminators to produce more realistic looking cards. Thecounterfeited cards come complete with a hologram and fully encoded magnetic strip. Most of the suppliesused to manufacture counterfeited bankcards, including the plastic cards and Visa/MasterCard holograms (theVisa dove and the MasterCard interlocking globes) are smuggled into the United States from the Far East.Costs and Statistics  It is estimated that the global rate of credit and charge card fraud is seven cents for every $100 transaction. Illegal credit card purchases totaled $788 million in the United States alone for the year 2004, representing 4.7 cents of every $100 worth of total purchases. Similar estimates have been reported in Great Britain, where it is estimated that £535.2 million were lost due to credit card fraud in 2007. In addition, Australia loses an estimated 4 cents per every $100 transaction to fraud.  According to estimates, over 229 million records containing individuals’ identifying information have been compromised by data breaches since 2005, Although it is difficult to estimate or predict the number of compromised records that will be or may have been utilized for perpetrating fraud, the sensitive nature of the information contained within these records harbors the potential for increasing credit card fraud losses. Estimates of monetary amounts lost from data breaches can reach hundreds of millions of dollars.  The Federal Trade Commission reports that victims’ information was used to perpetrate credit card fraud in 23% of the cases brought to the attention of the Identity Theft Clearinghouse in 2007.Of online credit/debit card fraud, the Internet Crime Complaint Center(IC3) reports that this type of fraud ranks 4 in the types of fraud committed over the Internet, compromising 6.3% of complaints reported to the IC3 in 2007.  A report issued by Cybersource shows that, according to a 2007 survey of both small and large online businesses, 1.4% of all online revenue was lost due to payment fraud, with an estimate of $3.6 billion in losses for 2007. Additionally, the survey found that 1.3% of all accepted orders resulted in fraud losses. The median fraudulent order was $200 versus a median of $120 for legitimate purchases. Those retailers which also accept orders not located with the U.S. or Canada reported that international orders were rejected at a rate approximately 2.5 times higher than U.S. and Canadian orders due to suspicion of fraud. Overall, merchants rejected 4.2% of total orders on suspicion of fraud.The Response/Current EffortsMerchants are more at risk from credit card fraud than are consumers. Regardless of whether the transactionoccurred in person or on-line, the consumer generally only has to face the hassles of reversing a fraudulentcharge, canceling their lost or stolen card, or paying the first $50 of the loss (although most credit cardcompanies waive this fee). In contrast, a merchant loses the cost of the product sold, must pay numerouscredit card charge-back fees, and even faces the possibility of having their merchant account closed.Many methods of safeguarding credit card purchases exist. Credit card companies started using holograms in1981 to identify genuine cards at the time of purchase. At the same time, large-scale hologram counterfeitingoperations developed in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and China. A separate market emerged for these holograms,which sell for between $5 and $15, depending on the quality of the hologram. In 1994, the Canadian 3
  4. 4. Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit and the Combined Forces Asian Investigation Unit arrestedmembers of a Chinese syndicate that produced approximately 300,000 counterfeit holograms and haddistributed 250,000 of them. Based on the quantity delivered and using an estimate of $3,000 lost per card,Visa and MasterCard estimated that their combined losses caused by this group approached $750 million.The FTC recommends that consumers sign their cards in a manner that requires the user to show photoidentification, carry their cards in a separate compartment of their wallet or purse, destroy carbon copies, voidincorrect receipts, reconcile monthly account statements, and shred unsolicited credit card offers. These stepswill reduce the likelihood of either fraudulent purchases charged to the victims’ accounts or more severeidentity theft.Credit card fraud is a recognized issue of import. One problem facing the struggle to reduce this type offraud, however, is the lack of law enforcement resources devoted to this type of crime. Although lawenforcement acknowledges the extent of the crime, resources are often such that many agencies are simplynot able to allocate the time and manpower needed to police these crimes. This is especially true when afraudulent transaction may only account for $20-50 loss per victim, such as with the recent cases involvingthe company Pluto Data. While these fraudulent transactions are noteworthy, they may simply not garner theresources that more salient crimes attract. Additionally, many credit card frauds may suffer fromjurisdictional problems; for instance, many of the fraudulent transactions may take place in a city, state, orcountry other than that in which the victim is residing. Due to the lack of consistent law enforcementinvolvement and jurisdictional issues, ensuring transaction safety often falls to the individual; as aconsequence, many, especially merchants involved with online transactions, utilize a variety of methods forensuring credit card security and safety.Internet credit card transactions are referred to as CNP (cardholder not present transactions). In order tovalidate a card, many on-line merchants use cardholder recognition software, validity checks, and red flagorder settings. These “red flags” are based on subtle differences in the card’s information that have alsoproved fraudulent in past purchases. For example, one red flag arises when the shipping and billing addressesare not the same. This is especially true in situations involving PO Boxes and private, rented boxes (e.g., atMailboxes Etc.). Other types of red flags are purchases of high dollar items or orders in multiples withrequests for rush or expedited shipping. On-line criminals generally like to receive their items quickly forresale purposes and, since they have no intention of paying the bill, they do not mind the higher cost forshipping.One of the latest technological advancements in the race to foil credit card fraudsters is the employment ofnew chip-based technology in credit cards. Rather than relying on the standard magnetic strip to divulgecard owners’ information, the new technology stores this information on a computer chip embedded within thecard which requires a pin to unlock—a practice that is currently underway in Europe and has been going on inFrance for over ten years, where credit card fraud has dropped 80%. This system is currently being unveiledin Canada and is also being employed by select card issuers in the U.S.Also, both Visa U.S.A. and MasterCard currently offer state-of-the-art identity check offerings. Visa U.S.A.invited cardholders to link their cards to passwords that would be required when shopping at participating on-line stores. The service, “Verified by Visa,” is designed to raise the level of security and allay fears of fraudthat haunt many merchants and consumers. Verified by Visa is a way to authenticate on-line buyers to on-linesellers in which customers register for a password with the bank that issues their credit card. Merchants arelinked back to the card issuer that verifies the cardholder’s identity based on that password. In addition to 4
  5. 5. programs such as “Verified by Visa”, Visa is also using a new “advanced authorization” system. By evaluating40 variable factors (such as whether or not the card being used was part of a known security breach or ifitems are being ordered at a high-volume quick rate), the system can provide banks with an instant rating ofthe transaction’s potential for fraud, allowing the issuer to decline the purchase if warranted. This new systemis reported to be able to flag up to 40% of false transactions which may have gone undetected previously.Additionally, many major credit card companies have banded together to help to ensure safety by issuingwhat is known as the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). This standard requires allmerchants to follow the same guidelines of data security. It is unknown how many retailers are PCIcompliant, but Visa estimates that upwards of two-thirds of its large and medium-sized merchants meetrequirements as of January 2008. In order to assist business owners in this endeavor, card companies andpayment processors are supplying tutorials and Webinars to business owners in order to help navigate theintricate technology regulations. The latest version of the security standard is scheduled for release inOctober 2008.Recent initiatives in an effort to battle credit card fraud and identity theft have also emerged on a federallevel. A recent amendment to the Fair Credit Reporting Act requires consumer reporting companies to provideconsumers with a free copy of their credit report (including information on where you live, how you pay yourbills, and whether you’ve been sued, arrested, or filed for bankruptcy) once every 12 months, at theconsumer’s request. This went into effect on December 1, 2004 in the Western states and is now availablenationwide. This allows consumers the ability to closely monitor their own credit histories without payingcharges to reporting agencies.Defenses to Credit Card Fraud ChargesPolice and prosecutors have the technological sophistication to effectively investigate credit card fraud,whether it allegedly occurs via the Internet or in person. The police may be able to follow the trail of an onlinecredit card purchase back to the computer used in the transaction, to find a suspect in an online credit cardfraud investigation. For credit card fraud cases occuring inside a store, the police may request security camerafootage to show the person who signed for a specific purchase at a specific time.Houston White Collar Crimes Attorney Charles Johnson will conduct a thorough, independentinvestigation into the case against you — seeking both exculpatory evidence and possible misconduct by thepolice investigators.If you are facing charges for credit card fraud, contactHouston Lawyer Charles Johnson personally anytime night orday at (713) 222-7577. Attorney Johnson will be able towork with you and investigate the case against you,explaining your options along the way.A defense attorney, who is experienced in this type of law, willbe able to look for possible defenses in your case. Sometimesfraud, credit card theft, embezzlement and identity theft are 5
  6. 6. committed due to a drug addiction, psychological issue, orgambling addiction. If you are suffering froman addiction or a mental issue, we may be able to argue for a lesser charge.Other possible defenses include:  Lack of knowledge  Lack of intent  Mistake  Duress (being coerced to perform a crime that you otherwise would not perform)  Age (being a minor may lessen the penalty imposed)If you are facing charges of credit card theft or any other type of fraud anywhere within the state of Texas, wewill:  Investigate the case against you  Investigate possible defenses and options  Work with you and explain your options  Communicate all charges and information clearly to you  Prepare the best defense case for your situationWhen you hire an experienced Houston Criminal Defense Attorney regarding theft charges you face, we maybe able to get your charges lessened or see that you get alternative sentencing for your crime.Penalties and SentencesThere are various punishments for different types of fraud. The sentences normally depend on the nature ofthe fraud committed. A few of the penalties that could be assessed under Texas law include:  Jail or prison time  Fines and restitution  Loss of a professional license  Seizure of property or wage garnishmentIt is extremely important that you contact Houston Credit Card Fraud Lawyer Charles Johnson assoon as you are aware of an investigation. Prosecutors often attempt to intimidate ordinary citizens intothinking the state of Texas has a clear cut case against them. Investigators often apply for search warrants inorder to look for evidence that a fraud has taken place. These search warrants limit the type of evidence thatmay be seized, but those who are unfamiliar with how this process works may nonetheless allow lawenforcement officers to overstep their bounds when serving one of these warrants.Hire the Best Houston White Collar Crime Lawyer: The Charles Johnson LawFirmDon’t make the mistake of waiting until it is too late to do something about it. Just because you havebeen charged with a theft crime in Texas does not mean that you will get the maximum punishment for thatcharge. You have a legal right to hire a lawyer who has experience in criminal proceedings who can helprepresent you and get you the best possible outcome. 6
  7. 7. Experienced Houston White Collar Crimes Lawyer Charles Johnson represents people on theft and fraudcharges including robbery, burglary, petty theft, credit card theft, grandtheft, embezzlement, shoplifting, forgery, passing bad checks, and obtaining money by falsepretenses. There are many possible defenses for your case. Allow us the time to discuss your case with youand investigate the matter.The Charles Johnson Law Firm will investigate your case, interview witnesses and present the best possibledefense. Don’t let a mistake that you made affect the rest of your life. You may contact HoustonCredit Card Fraud Lawyer Charles Johnson at (713) 222-7577and speak with him directly anytime nightor day, 7 days/ week to discuss your case.Posts Related to Facing Allegations of Credit Card Fraud? Houston White Collar CrimesLawyer Charles Johnson Can Protect Your Future  The Consequences of An Allegation of Embezzlement: Hire the Right Houston White Collar Crimes Attorney Embezzlement or Misappropriation of Funds Can Be a Serious Crime in Texas Federal Courts. Embezzlement is considered a white collar crime in the state of ...  Facing a Money Laundering Investigation? Hire the Leading Houston White Collar Crimes Lawyer The Federal crime of Money Laundering is traditionally understood to be the practice of filtering “dirty” money, or ill-gotten gains, through a series of transactions until ...  Arrested for Prescription Drugs? There is way out of it. The illegal sale or use of prescription drugs can certainly result in severe criminal charges. If you have been arrested for a forged prescription or ...  What are Texas Laws on Marijuana Possession? Texas has a reputation as being extremely hard on drug use and possession, and it is well earned. Minor marijuana possession is not decriminalized in Texas, ...  Houston Lawyer » Cant Locate Employment Due To A Criminal History? In the event you have been found guilty of a criminal offense, you might wonder if you will be able to find job opportunities. Employers ... 7
  8. 8. Original article may be found at:Facing Allegations of Credit Card Fraud? Houston White Collar Crimes Lawyer Charles Johnson CanProtect Your FutureHouston Lawyer Charles Johnson can be reached 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.Call us at 713-222-7577 or toll free at 877-308-0100.Major Credit Cards Accepted.Houston Lawyer Charles JohnsonSolving Problems...Every Day®http://www.houstonlawyer.comThe Charles Johnson Law Firm815 Walker Street #1047Houston, TX 77002E-Mail: charlesjohnson@houstonlawyer.comPhone: (713) 222-7577Toll-Free: (877) 308-0100Map to Office 8