Arizona Credit and Debit Card Fraud Laws

What is Credit Card Fraud in Arizona?

In Arizona, credit card fraud encompasses a number of different offenses involving the illegal use of credit cards by a defendant for some sort of monetary gain. The law also prohibits stealing or possessing a stolen credit card.

Fraudulent Use of a Credit Card

If you use a credit card or are on the receiving end of anything purchased off an illegally obtained credit card (and you are aware of it), you may be charged with one of these offenses. Your potential sentence depends on the value of the items obtained.

Theft or Possession of a Stolen Credit Card

If you possess or take someone else’s credit card without their consent you may be found guilty of this offense. Also, if you hold onto someone’s credit card as a security for debt or sell a credit card with the intent to defraud, you can be convicted. Remember, you don't have to use the credit card to be guilty.

The following table highlights the main provisions of Arizona's credit card fraud laws. See Are You Responsible for Unauthorized Credit Card Charges?, Fraud and Financial Crimes, Theft Overview, and Business Data Breach and Customer ID Theft for more information.

Code Sections

Fraudulent use of a credit card A.R.S §13-2105

Theft of a credit card: A.R.S. § 13-2102

What is Prohibited

Use: Using a credit, debit card, stored value, smart card or any other device that allows a person to obtain goods or services through use of value stored on a card.

Theft: Possessing, using, controlling or stealing a credit card without the cardholder's consent and with intent to defraud the cardholder.

Penalties

Use: Felony or misdemeanor, depends on the amount of the illegal credit card transaction. Any theft over $250 dollars is a felony. Jail, fines, probation and possible restitution to the victim(s).

Theft of a credit card is a class 5 felony.

Definition of a Credit Card

"Credit card" means any instrument or device, whether known as a credit card, charge card, credit plate, courtesy card or identification card or by any other name, that is issued for the use of the cardholder in obtaining money, goods, services or anything else of value.

Definition of a Cardholder

"Cardholder" means any person who is either:

(a) Named on the face of a credit card to whom or for whose benefit the credit card is issued by an issuer.
(b) In possession of a credit card with the consent of the person to whom the credit card was issued.

Victim Restitution

A victim of identity theft may bring a civil suit against a person who has used his or her personal identifying information. The court may award the victim the costs of the identity theft, including the costs of clearing the victim’s credit history, court costs, and attorneys’ fees.

What to Do If You Are a Victim

1) Report the Incident your local law enforcement agency. File a report with your local county or city law enforcement agency. You do not need to know the name of the person who used your identity or credit card. You can show the police the information you have, such as debt collection letters or other indications that you are the victim of this crime.

2) Notify your credit card company immediately. Note the date, time and person to whom you reported the loss or theft. Once you report the loss or theft, you are not responsible for charges you didn’t authorize. Your maximum liability under federal law is $50 per card.

3) Contact the three major credit card bureaus:

4) Opt out of getting credit card offers in the mail by calling 1-888-567-8688 (1-888-5OPT-OUT). You'll be asked to provide some personal information such as name, address and Social Security Number, but that information will be used only to process your request.

Next Steps: Free Arizona Attorney Match

Because Arizona consumer and criminal laws can sometimes get complicated, it important for you to consult an experienced criminal defense lawyer if you have questions about your specific situation. Credit and debit card crimes can carry serious consequences in Arizona. Know the law and know your possible defenses. Get a free attorney match today to learn more.

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

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