Definition of Debit Card Fraud
A debit card is a hybrid between a credit card and an ATM card. A debit card makes it possible for money to be withdrawn from an automatic teller machine, but can also be used when shopping and swiped to pay for goods. The only fundamental difference between a debit and credit card is that the debit card withdraws money automatically from a bank account during a transaction rather than charging on credit.
Because debit cards can be used as both a credit card substitute an ATM
A debit card fraud lawyer can provide assistance to those who are accused of violating criminal laws related to debit card fraud.
Types of Debit Card Fraud
Debit card fraud can take many forms including:
- Improperly obtaining and using or selling debit card
information includingcard numbers, security codes, and pin numbers. Card information can be obtained through high-tech means includingdevices inside of ATM machines, through email phishing schemes, or through low-tech means like observing someone enter a pin number and stealing the card.
- Withdrawal fraud: Fraudulent checks can be deposited into a bank account and a debit card can be used to withdraw money or make purchases on the account even though the checks will not clear.
- Creating fake debit cards. Once information has been obtained from a debit card through skimming devices
,phishing, or other schemes, duplicate copies of debit cards can be created and used.
When a debit card is used to make a purchase when shopping, entering a pin number is not always required. This makes debit card fraud easier than traditional ATM card fraud, since no pin number is required to use a stolen debit card to make purchases. Arkady Bukh has a long track record of representing clients accused of serious federal and state crimes in NYC TOP RATED ON: SUPER LAWYERS, AVVO, NATIONAL TRIAL LAWYERS
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Arkady Bukh has a long track record of representing clients accused of serious federal and state crimes in NYC
TOP RATED ON: SUPER LAWYERS, AVVO, NATIONAL TRIAL LAWYERS
Consumers typically report debit card fraud to their financial institutions if they notice improper changes on their debit cards. The bank may launch an internal investigation of whether fraud occurred and may involve law enforcement. Local law enforcement can investigate debit card fraud and often takes the lead in simple fraud cases where a debit card was stolen and used to make unauthorized purchases.
When more complex debit card schemes occur, the federal government may become involved. Federal authorities often take the lead in cases where skimming devices were placed on ATM machines to record debit card information, and where other organized schemes were used to obtain debit card information to sell or create fake cards.
The larger the fraud scheme and the more money a financial institution loses due to the fraud, the more likely it is that the Federal Trade Commission, the Federal Identity Theft Task Force, the Department of Justice, and other federal agencies will become involved in the investigation. When fraud occurs on an international scale, including when debit card numbers are sold and traded on the Internet, this may also prompt federal authorities to become involved.
Penalties and Punishment
Debit card fraud cases can lead to charges for:
- State-level larceny. Article 155 of the New York Penal Code indicates that the theft of a credit or debit card is never classified as petit larceny and is always considered a grand larceny offense.
- Federal or state identity theft crimes. 18 U.S. Code Section 1028 is the federal law addressing the crime of unlawfully obtaining, using, transferring, or selling identifying information. New York Penal Code Sections 190.78-190.80
establishdifferent penalties for state level identity theft offenses.
- Wire fraud. 18 U.S. Code Section 1343 imposes a penalty of up to 30 years imprisonment and a $1 million fine for using wire, radio, or TV communication as part of a fraud scheme.
- Fraud in connection with access devices, which is a federal offense under 18 U.S. Code Section 1029.
- Fraud in connection with computers, which is a federal crime under 18 U.S. Code Section 1030.
- Bank fraud, which can result in 30 years imprisonment and a $1 million fine for any attempt to defraud a financial institution or obtain funds from a financial institution.
Debit card fraud can have dramatically different consequences depending upon the type of fraud and whether state or federal prosecutors pursue the case against you.
Getting Help from a Debit Card Fraud Lawyer
A debit card fraud lawyer can provide you with assistance if you are accused of debit card fraud, ATM fraud, or credit card fraud offenses. Call an experienced attorney as soon as you are charged so you can make informed choices in how you respond to the accusations against you.